Monday, March 25, 2019
The Merchant Of Venice - Shylock: Villain Or Victim? Essay -- Merchant
Many people are villainous in the way they be adjudge. Their villainous acts may be attributed to their desire to destroy others and in turn recruit themselves to a higher financial or social level. However, the root mother of their villainy may be a response to the treatment they have endured at the hands of others. In short, they have been taught villainy, rather than it being an built-in part of their personality. In such instances, revenge can be a key motivator in inspiring them to act in a villainous way. It is on such occasions, where villains have themselves been exposed to villainy, that the distinction betwixt villain and dupe becomes blurred. Victims are usually characterised in the way that they are persecuted for circumstances, which are beyond their control for example their appearance. In plays and novels, the victim is sometimes a character included to highlight the prejudices and pre-conceptions of the social climate in which the play or novel was written. In t he Merchant of Venice it can be argued that billslenders character undergoes a metamorphosis from villain to victim. However, in this essay I hope to discuss whether in fact loan shark can be defined as either villain or victim and to piss an opinion of what Shakespeare intended. First we shall look at the aspects of the text that portray Shylock as a villain. We are first introduced to Shylock in go I Scene iii where we learn of his usury. It is in this scene that Bassanio seeks Shylock out and asks to borrow money from him in Antonios name. Also in this scene do we learn of Shylocks hatred for Antonio and the Christians How the like a fawning publican he looks / I hate him for he is a Christian (Act I Scene iii)Shylock also displays elements of hostilities in his refusal to ever forgive the Christians. We also learn of his intent regarding Antonios life If I can catch him once upon the hip, / I go forth feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. (Act I Scene iii)Shylock also sh ows himself to be devious and cunning by hiding his hatred beneath a faade of friendship in order to entice Antonio to become indebted to him, non just with money but with his life. Antonio is very nave regarding the terms of the bond taking the shell of flesh clause to be a show of friendship not hatred The Hebrew will turn Christian he grows kind. (Act I Scene iii)Perhaps he receives the terms... ...uted among his sworn enemies. Although Shylock pursues his revenge fierily he still has the audiences sympathy because of the unfair and acerb punishment he receives. It strikes a modern day audience as grossly unfair that the severity of his punishment reflects not his crime, but his race. He is a victim of the Christians intolerance of other races and ideas. In conclusion, I aspect that ultimately Shylock is a villain. The way he treats those he is adjacent to, for example his daughter Jessica exposes his vindictive and ultimately evil character. He lets his craving for veng eance engulf all other aspects of his life and his complete overlook of mercy towards Antonio renders him a villain in the eyes of the audience.We can alone guess at the way in which Shakespeare intended Shylock to be portrayed. I feel that Shakespeare intended Shylock to be victim, he was created to contend the pre-conceptions and ideologies of the Elizabethan era. Having said this, I feel personally that it is not nut-bearing for us to simply categorise Shylock as either victim or villain. Through Shylock, Shakespeare explores the way in which the line between the suppress and the oppressor can become blurred.