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Merchant of Venice - Is the Shylock “A man more sinned against than sinning?”

Uploaded by [-red-] on Feb 25, 2001

There are many sides to this argument. The first is that Shylock does not sin at all, the second is that all the characters sin as much as each other, the third that Shylock is the only one who sins, the fourth that they all sin, but Shylock sins the most making the above statement false, and the fifth way of arguing it is to agree with the statement.

Shylock may sin when he makes the contract with Antonio saying that he must pay back the 3000D within 3months if he lends it to him, or he can take 1lb of flesh from his body, but it is not clear whether he wants to harm Antonio because he claims to want “Only friendship”. Later on in the scene he has his aside and he tells the audience that he hates Antonio. “For he is a Christian” and he will do anything to harm him. The quote from his aside is clearly racist and this breaks one of Gods rules “Love thy neighbour” (Leviticus). But later on there is evidence for the Christians breaking this rule as well. Shylock says to Antonio

“You spat on me Wednesday last,
You spurned me such a day, another time
You call me dog:”

Shylocks daughter Jessica steals money and jewels from Shylock and this is clearly a sin because she is breaking one of the 10 commandments “Thou shall not steal”

She also elopes with Lorenzo and this is clearly a sin according to the 10 commandments because you should “Respect your father and your mother”. When she has to turn from a Jew into a Christian in order to marry Lorenzo, it becomes unclear whether changing belief i.e. changing from Jew to Christian is a sin, because Shylock doesn’t say to Jessica at any point. “Don’t become a Christian” so therefore she is not breaking any of the 10 commandments such as “Respect your father and your mother”

In court when Antonio has failed to pay back the sum of money that Shylock is owed, Shylock refuses the correct sum of money that has now been found by Antonio and wants “only my bond”. Even when Shylock is offered 6 times the money owed he say’s “I only want my bond”. Strictly speaking it is not a sin to refuse the money but as we find out later, he wants to harm Antonio and could not care less...

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Uploaded by:   [-red-]

Date:   02/25/2001

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   3 pages (718 words)

Views:   2320

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