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Shylock Essay, Research Paper

How does Shakespeare present

and develop the character Shylock?

The character Shylock is first introduced to us in Venice in act 1 scene 3 talking to Bassanio about the loan of 3000 ducats.

Shylock is a moneylender who is a wealthy Jew and charges interest for the lending of his ducats. Even thou Shylock dislikes Antonio he still agrees to loan Bassanio the money on a bound of that if he does not pay back the 3000 ducats in the three months Shylock can cut off I pound of flesh from were he please. In the 1597 people who followed in the Jewish religion were really dislikes and hated and sometimes killed. This is shown by the way that Antonio speaks him in a way that the audience today would not speak to a wealthy Jew Act 1 scene 3 line 94 when he calls him the devil. Antonio is also a moneylender but he does not charge interest and is a Christian and so has more business so he is one of Shylocks competitors.

Shylocks daughter Jessica is seeing a Christian called Lorenzo behind his back, Jessica knows that her father does not wish for her to mix with Christians.

This play is full of dramatic devices, one of which helps does not help Shylocks reputation of being evil and not caring about anything. This is when he is sitting down in the courtroom sharpening the blade of his knife preparing to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio and the scales being present to weigh the flesh. I find whenever Solanio and Salerio turn up on the scene they recap to the audience what has happened in the play so far. Every time they do this they seem to make Shylocks actions much worse then what actually happened.

I find that Shylock is always knows what is happening this is because in act 1 scene 3 line 14-20 he knows exactly were the ships are. He is easily annoyed by most of the people around him including his daughter. Throughout the play the characters only use Shylocks name if they need or want him for something. When Shylock gives his famous speech to Salerio and Solanio If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? it almost makes him seem human in a way that he does have feelings, but all this slowly disappears when his daughter runs away with Lorenzo and takes some of Shylocks ducats. Shylock starts to rant and rave and talks about the loss of his daughter and his ducats, this makes him seem as if he cares more about his money than his daughter.

In the play there are three other plots one of which is the casket plot. There are three caskets gold, silver and lead, men come into the room and pick the casket and read out what is inside if they pick the wrong casket they do not get Portias hand in marriage and are not allowed to marry anyone else. The person who picks the right casket (Lead) is Bassanio and therefore wins Portias hand in marriage.

The audience who would have watched this play would have laugh and booed in different places to the people of today who I feel are much more respectful to others and understand a lot of other religions to their own. In the play when Shylock is called a devil people from the 1597 might have laugh and agreed but the people of today would class it as racism.

I feel that Shakespeare develops the character Shylock very well he gives him choices to take in the play to help the audience think well is he actually a nice person deep down inside. I think that Shylock is an overprotective father towards his daughter, as he will not let her mix with Christians. I feel that when Shylock is in the courtroom and Portia is reading the bond and states that he can take the flesh but can not spill a drop of blood. He knows that he has lost and so he tries to take the money, which had been offered, to him earlier in that scene.


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