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Shylock in the Merchant of Venice

  • Date Submitted: 10/22/2012 07:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.9 
  • Words: 457
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Merchant of Venice             Shabnam Mohamed

Shylock is a man who is hardly likeable in all aspects. Already a disregarded member of Venetian society because he is a Jew and occupies the stereotypical profession of the money-grubbing personality, Shylock ensures that his peers and the reader will not like him because of his unreasonableness and unwillingness to let go of his tendencies to be greedy.
We first encounter Shylock in Act 1, Scene 3; he appears to be a very cautious businessman and seems to be trying to make Bassanio nervous as well. Bassanio is trying to convince Shylock to lend him 3,000 ducats for three months, with Antonio bound to repay the debt. If the loan is not repaid 
in time, Shylock may cut off one pound of flesh from Antonio's body. Shylock acknowledges that Antonio is a “good man” (1.3.16) In this brief exchange, Bassanio takes this as a compliment for Antonio, a good person, honourable, when Shylock means it as good for money, financially sound and secure.
Shylock also makes it very obvious that he hates Antonio, because he is Christian (“I hate him for he is a Christian” 1.3.9) but also because he lends money, interest free (“He lends out money gratis” 1.3.9), which has a negative impact on Shylock's money-lending business. Shylock hates him so much he can't wait for the opportunity to trap Antonio and "feed that ancient grudge." (1, 3, 44) 
Shylock is isolated from Christian society. He can engage with Christians in business dealings, but refuses to neither “eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.” (1.3.9)
Shylock refuses Bassonio’s invitation to dinner as he doesn’t socialise with people who do not share his religious identity. It is therefore clear that he keeps his distance socially. He's a Jew in a Christian country, which explains the animosity we see from and toward him.
Shylock's has a possessive nature towards his possessions. He has an obsession with locking and guarding the house, which he...


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