Merchant of Venice Essay

Is Shylock portrayed as a villain or victim? In our lessons we have been studying one of Shakespeare’s plays The Merchant of Venice. This is one of Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedies, written in 1596. The bases of this play lies on dealing with a dispute between shylock, a wealthy Jew, and Antonio, a merchant of Venice. In my essay I am going to evaluate weather shylock is a man more sinned against than sinning. Shylock has the most important role, but despite his importance he doesn’t appear as often as some of the other characters.

Shylock however adds the flair, excitement and complexity which allows the play to be as thoroughly interesting as it is. I agree to a certain extent in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ that Shylock is portrayed as both a victim and a villain. On the one hand Shylock is portrayed as a victim as his job as a money lender allows him to have very little friends but many enemies, this is made evident as he is referred to as an animal and by all the insults he gets thrown at him. “Dog Jew”, “wolfish” and “unfeeling man” are some of the insults aimed at Shylock during the play.

However it isn’t as easy to find any words that are used to describe Shylock with any sense of care or kindness to them, this pretty much sums up the character of Shylock altogether. Shylocks first line in the play (act 3, scene 1) “3,000 ducats, well” doesn’t immediately advertise his love of money, but as you read on it becomes clear to us, as the readers, that the first line is there for a definite reason, as throughout the play his love of money becomes very clear, backed up with many quotes like “And jewels- two stones, two rich and precious stones, stolen by my daughter!

Justice! Find the girl! She hath the stones upon her and the stones” this quote shows that shylock, father of Jessica, has more love in finding the stones and jewels than he does in finding his daughter. Shylock also refers to his stones as “precious” which he never would use when referring to his daughter.