Antisemitism In The Merchant Of Venice


In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock would have been seen as a villain one of the reason; is he is a Jew. Jews are traditional looked at as villains in literature. If the Christians had treated Shylock as a normal human being, and not as devil, the readers must have noted that Shylock was a victim, not a villain. In The Merchant of Venice. Shylock is the victim because he is being mistreated. The Christians, such as Antonio, mistreated Shylock, physically and verbally. Shylock says, "You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog, And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine" (1.3.107-109). In this quote, Shylock in upset, saying that other Christians call me names and other rude remarks. Antonio verbally insults Shylock by calling him names, such as cutthroat dog, and spitting on his Jewish fabric. Other Christians insulted Shylock's Jewish religion as well. "If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven, it will be for his gentle daughter's sake." (2.4.33-34). Lorenzo said this because he thinks that Christianity is the only religion that is powerful enough to make anyone go to heaven. If this were during our time, this would be considered rude and belittling to any other religion because you are saying every other religion doesn't exist, and only yours does. Shylock was also betrayed by his daughter Jessica, who stole from him and ran away with a Christian. "O my daughter, Fled with a Christian!" (2.8.15-16). Jessica not only ran off and left her religion without Shylock knowing she also stole her father's jewels and ducats. She also robbed Shylock of the most treasured ring he had received from his deceased wife. For Jessica to trade away her mother's ring for something as ridiculous as a monkey, you can think how devastated and hurt Shylock was when he heard this dreadful news. When Shylock refers to Jessica as his "own flesh and blood" one can tell how upset Shylock was mentally (3.1.28). Even though Shylock is portrayed as a merciful man, think for a second, wouldn't you also want revenge if you were in his shoes? If a man came to you asking for money, and he spat on you instead of being polite, disrespecting your religion, and comparing you to a dirty dog, wouldn't you be vengeful as well? If you don't, it seems that you don't respect your religion or yourself. Shylock's story truly is tragic, and he should not be called the villain of this play, but the victim instead.

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