“How Does Shakespeare Present Shylock as both Villain and Victim?”
Shakespeare sets the play “the Merchant of Venice” in the 1500s in the commercial centre of Europe, venice. Shakespeare’s choice of location sets the scene in a wealthy and prosperous city, Venice. At the time there was a large population of the Jewish community and usury was widely used.
Shylock the main character of a Jew, in the “merchant of Venice”, Shylock Plays a wealthy stubborn character who performs usury a trade, that Christians despise of as immoral illegal way of loaning money. Jews had few rights at the time which included being enclosed to district at night, the ghetto Neuvo. Also the Jews were not able to own property and were made to rent. The ghetto that housed the Jews had a curfew; in which the Jews had to be in the town by. At the time Jews were discriminated upon and thought of as villains, and would have to wear a red hat upon leaving the ghetto so that Christians were aware of their religion.
Jews suffered much physical and verbal abuse, Shylock was no exception. Shakespeare’s choice of setting the date of the play shows the true way Jews were treated with anti-Semitism at its peak. They were unpopular and not cared for. Shakespeare makes Shylock a powerful character because of the way he portrays his wealth.
At the start of the play Shylock is treated as a normal Jew, discriminated against because of his beliefs; however Shylock only becomes a more powerful character when the audience discovers his wealth; Shylock has worked hard for his position and his wealth. In the play we find that Shylocks beloved wife passed away before the play started and he brought up Jessica as a single parent. Shylock shows his devotion when he mentions the ring his wife gave to him.
This shows shylocks sensitive and loving side.Shylock only tries to help and is a law abiding citizen.
Shylock is given power over Antonio, by the situation of Antonio approaching shylock in the...