Shylock is one of the famous and vivid characters developed in the drama “The Merchant of Venice”

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Shylock is one of Shakespeare’s most prominent and colorful characters from the play “The Merchant of Venice,” and he is regarded as a significant dramatic building of the personality. Shakespeare uses this character as a villain in the first instance of this play to help construct the plot of the overall play on the stage (Ichikawa, 126). Second, the author establishes him as a human being who later mourns the loss of his daughter, loses his money, and most notably, loses his faith and conviction. As a result, the author’s conception of this character reveals Shylock as both a psychopath and a human being (victim). Shakespeare uses several elements that indicate that he did not want the readers and his audience to think of the character as the villain only. The author portrays the character as an object barricading the progress and development of the society for their selfish interest. Shylock being a Jew is accidental itself and therefore should not be appropriate for readers to consider the character as a villain. In his plot development, Shakespeare wanted to show the high contrast between liberty and selfishness in the society concerning money and love. In literature, a man who fulfils both personalities was called usurer (Bradizza, 183). Shylock has a beautiful daughter who he holds tightly as he did with his ducats. Consequently, Shakespeare manages to draw the attention of his readers that shylock should not be viewed as a villain in the plot development of the play. Christianity forbids usury, and therefore, only the Jews controlled the lending of money as stipulated by the law. However, Shakespeare puts the name Shylock in bold strokes meaning the character should be a villain regarding romantic comedy.

When Shylock goes out of the courtroom, the public stripes him of all that he possesses. He is a failed man at the end of Act IV, Scene1. But the readers cannot have sympathy for him, though, some will offer little but not much. The author’s intention was not to draw Shylock as a tragic figure; however, Shakespeare intended to bring Shylock as the embodiment of selfishness that the society in The Merchant of Venice must overcome by all means (Richard, 145). In a great deal, it is the author’s brilliance which leads Shakespeare to create Shylock as too human.

I do think Shakespeare intended his readers to feel that Shylock is a bad guy at all. The author draws out Shylock firmly and makes the character admirable although the society finally condemns him. Throughout the drama, the character’s attitude towards human relationships and money is questionable. When Shylock gives his response concerning her daughter’s departure, we notice that Shylock is more concerned about the precious item (gold) stolen by Jessica than her disappearance. Solanio tells the audience that Shylock screamed “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! / departed with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!” I feel a little sympathy towards the character particularly when he is stripped of all his belongings when leaving the courtroom. The painful events that he goes through make him feel an unfortunate man in the society. He leaves the court feeling embarrassed an unworthy of living in this community after dejection.

Works Cited

Bradizza, Luigi. “Shylock, Tubal, and the Charge of Anti-Semitism.” Perspectives on Political Science, vol. 43, no. 4, Oct-Dec2014, pp. 183-188.

Ichikawa, Mariko. “Shylock and the Use of Stage Doors.” Theatre Notebook, vol. 67, no. 3, Oct. 2013, pp. 126-140.

Richard, Jeremy. “‘The Thing I Am’: Parolles, the Comedic Villain, and Tragic Consciousness.” Shakespeare Studies (0582-9399), vol. 18, Jan. 1986, p. 145.

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