Essay about Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare


“The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare is one of his most well-known plays of all time. The play is about Shylock, who lends 3,000 ducats for a bond with Antonio. The bond was that if Antonio doesn’t pay in time, he will have to give up a pound of flesh to Shylock. In the play, Shylock was more of a villain than a victim. He was more of a villain than a victim because of his thirst for revenge and his unwillingness to show mercy. 

First of all, Shylock is a villain in the play because of his thirst for revenge. Throughout the play we see Shylock trying to get back at Antonio for what he has done to him. An example of Shylock's thirst for revenge is when Salarinio tells Shylock “Why I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh: what's that good for?” and Shylock responded with “To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. 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; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrongs a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrongs a Jew, what should his suffering be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.” In this quote, we see Shylock not wanting to give Antonio any mercy. It also shows how much he dislikes Antonio. This is significant because it shows how much Shylock wants to get back at Antonio. 

Secondly, Shylock was more of a villain than a victim because of his unwillingness to show mercy. An example of this is during the trial. During the trial, Shylock had the choice to get double the amount of money he gave, but he still chose to stick with the bond. Shylock says  “What judgment shall I dread, doing Were in six parts and every part a ducat, I would not draw them; I would have my bond” when he refused the money. This is significant because it shows how cruel Shylock really is. He would rather kill Antonio than get twice the amount of money he gave out. It almost seems like Shylock intends to kill Antonio because he is already getting offered twice the amount of money, but still chose the bond. It looks like he already has this in mind.

In conclusion, in the play “The Merchant of Venice”, Shylock was more of a villain than a victim. He was more of a villain than a victim because of his thirst for revenge and his unwillingness to show mercy. His thirst for revenge and unwillingness to show mercy resulted in them agreeing that he has to give half of what he has to his daughter and her husband and he also has to convert to Christianity.

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