Shylock – A Victim Often times, victims
Shylock – A Victim Oftentimes, victims and villains can be seen as one of the same, even though theyare not. In the play, The Merchant ofVenice, the character of Shylock is treated like a villain, with villainqualities, even though he is ultimately a victim. He is a victim because of howhe is treated by Antonio, unfairly treated due to his religion and because helost more than any other character. Tostart with, Shylock is shown to have a rough history with Antonio.
There aremany scenes in the play with Antonio often treating him horribly. In thebeginning of the book, when Shylock is telling Antonio all the names he wascalled, Antonio replies, “I am as like to call thee so again, so spet on theeagain, to spurn thee too” (1.3, 126-127). Another example is when is giving hisfamous “I am a Jew” speech, he says,”He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses,mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends,heated mine enemies” (3.1, 50-53). Again, this quotation shows Antonio beingcruel to Shylock. The final example is during the scene where Antonio andSolanio are in the jail cell, Antonio admits to often giving money to peoplewho were unable to pay him back, he says, “I oft delivered from his forfeituresmany that have at times made moan to me.
Therefore he hates me” (4.1, 22-24).Once again, this quotation shows Antonio showing cruelty towards Shylock. Additionally,Shylock is often treated horrendously because he is a Jew. During his “I am a Jew” speech, Shylock says, “If aJew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge.
If a Christian wrong aJew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.” (3.1,63-66). This quotation is an example of Shylock expressing his unhappiness ofhow himself, and Jews in general are often treated by Christians. Towards theend of the scene where Shylock and Antonio make the deal of three thousandducats, Antonio says “Hie thee, gentle Jew. The Hebrew will turn Christian.
Hegrows kind” (1.3, 174-175). This shows how Antonio cannot fathom thepossibility that Shylock, who is a Jew, is acting nicely. In addition, at theend of the play, Shylock is forced out of his own religion.
During the courtscene, when Antonio is showing mercy towards Shylock, he asks him two favor.One of these favors is to immediately become a Christian, he says, “Hepresently become a Christian” (4.1, 385). Once again, this proves how Shylockis badly treated as a Jew. Lastly,Shylock is a victim because he lost the most. Throughout the entire play,Shylock is often losing.
To start with, Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, runs awaywith Lorenzo and converts to Christianity because she is not happy in Shylock’shome. As Launcelot is going to leave, Jessica says, “I am sorry thou wilt leavemy father so. Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil, didst rob it of sometaste of tediousness. But fare thee well” (2.
3, 1-4). Shylock also loses hispound of flesh from Antonio because he cannot shed any blood at all or he willlose everything he has, as Portia re-reads the contract that Shylock andAntonio signed, she says, “This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. Thewords expressly are ‘a pound of flesh.
‘ Take then thy bond, take thou thy poundof flesh, but in the cutting it if thou dost shed one drop of Christian blood,thy lands and goods are by the laws of Venice confiscate Unto the state ofVenice” (4.1, 304-310). The final example is also during the court scene, whenAntonio is showing mercy to Shylock on court, he asks of two things, one ofthese two things are to make a will in the court saying that all his propertygoes to his son-in-law, Lorenzo, and to his daughter, Jessica. Both are peoplewho went behind his back, took his money, and left.
Antonio says, “He do recorda gift here in the court, of all he dies possessed, unto his son Lorenzo andhis daughter” (4.1, 386-388). This quotation shows again, that Shylock losesthings in the play. Inconclusion, Shylock is ultimately depicted as a victim over a villain manytimes.
The main points of him being a victim are how he was treated by Antonio,how he was treated as a Jew and the amount he loses throughout the play. Avillain can only play the victim so well.