Free Merchant Of Venice Argumentative Essay Sample
The Merchant of Venice is Shakespeare’s play. Shakespeare presents Shylock as person with dual character or two personalities; a victim and a villain. Many Christians in the story see Shylock as a villain and this is the opposite of what the audience thinks of him, because they see him as victim because of the prejudice shown to him due to his Jewish religion. The two sides of Shylock’s character are evident throughout the play as he is seen as a victim at one point and as a villain at the other.
Shylock is depicted as a victim and at the same time as a villain. On one hand, Shylock seems like a villain because, first, he is full of vengeance and ready to kill in order to defend his religion. In the beginning of the play, Antonio humiliates Shylock publicly. Shylock had a grudge against Antonio and he behaved in an undignified manner with him with no mercy at all. Antonio mistreats Shylock for his religion and he is happy about it when he says, “I am as like to call thee so again, to spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.” (Act 1, Scene 3). For Shylock, a Christian and a Jew were just normal people, but because of the mistreatment he received from the Christians, he vowed to retreat (Act III Scene I). Shylock knew that, the people from Venice were not well off but he continued lending them money with a lot of interest to repay for the evil doings from Christians and this portrays him as a villain. In Act 4 scene 1 when Shylock and Antonio were in the courtroom, Shylock shows his anger against Antonio by calling him names and his passion for revenge shows the villain in him.
Shylock is victimized in the story because of his Jewish heritage because it was a common thing in the story because the majority was Christians. He is a victim in the play because he is mistreated and abused by the people around him. Christians mock his religion, spit on him, and even refuse to trade with him, just because of his religion. Being a Jew, he was accused of lacking good morals because he was a Jew who rejected Christ. Additionally, he is a victim in the scene where his wealth is taken away and he is forced to become a Christian. Shylock’s daughter Jessica stole his wealth and squandered it and even though he was angry because of his hot temper, he was a victim here. Jessica even exchanged her mother’s ring for a monkey just to annoy him, and this is evident when Shylock says "it was my turquoise, I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys” (Act II, Scene 1).
In conclusion, Shylock is equally a victim and a villain in the play. He was a victim because he was mistreated because of his Jewish religion. On the other hand, he was a villain because of how he reacted to the ill-treatment from his enemies. Shylock received a lot of mistreatment from the Christians publicly. Because he could not take it anymore, he decided to revenge by lending them money with a lot of interest and also he revenged against Antonio, who abused and spit on him publicly. Shylock turned into a villain as a result of how the Christians mishandled him because he was a Jew. In essence, Shylock is neither solely a villain nor a victim; he is both.