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Stereotype in Merchant of Venice

  • Date Submitted: 06/10/2010 04:04 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.6 
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A stereotype is a commonly held public belief about specific social groups, or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups, based on some prior assumptions. Generally speaking, these "stereotypes" are not based on objective truth, but rather subjective and often unverifiable content-matter.

Jewish stereotypes:Jewish people have been stereotyped throughout the centuries and made scapegoats for a multitude of societal problems. Jews are still stereotyped as greedy, nit-picky, misers. They have often been shown counting money or collecting diamonds. Antisemitism prevailed for centuries and reached a climax in Nazi Germany during World War II.

Stereotypes in The Merchant of Venice: Stereotypes are explored greatly in the Shakespeare play The Merchant Of Venice, as most of the main characters are looked upon with a stereotypical point of view. However Not all of the main characters are, some take a different perspective and are a completely different breed of character compared to the others. A good example of a stereotypical character in The Merchant of Venice would be Shylock. the villainous Jew. He is a man who is sought after only for a loan, as it was only Jews who could give loans and receive interest. Shylock's character of cunning, evil and mischievous man was the stereotype of a Jew back then. This is how Shylock is portrayed through out the play
Some of the play's characters have some stereotypical aspect about them. Antonio is the main character, and is affected by stereotypes. He is noble, rich, high class, dominant and couldn't care less for the Jew and always wants to make a buck. This was the stereotype for a rich businessman.

Although both Antonio and Shylock and both stereotyped in the play, there are some characters that are not stereotyped. The best example of this is Portia. Back in...


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