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The Merchant of Venice

Uploaded by schmick on May 06, 2002

“Shylock is the villain in the play. He deserves no mercy.”
Discuss with close reference to the Merchant of Venice.



In the play The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, Shylock is the villain. However, there are reasons as to why he does and why he does not deserve mercy. The reasons why he deserves mercy include: the fact that he is only considered the villain because he is a Jew; Antonio deserved mercy, so Shylock should be shown mercy as well; Shylock can’t be blamed for being a villain after all the terrible things that have happened to him; and if the other characters were the genuine Christians that they made themselves out to be, they would show mercy to Shylock and they would not have been so mean to Shylock in the first place. The reasons why Shylock does not deserve mercy are: that he has a truly villainous nature; Shylock refused to show mercy to Antonio, even after Shylock was offered many times the amount of money he actually lent to Antonio; and because Shylock’s bond was against the law, therefore the penalty of the law should be imposed.

The first reason why Shylock deserves mercy, is the fact that he is hated because he is a Jew. The other characters’ “hatred” for Shylock is obviously just a mask for their racism, as throughout the play they make their prejudice towards Jews extremely clear, “Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnation” is one example. Shylock also explains the reason why he is hated when he says, “He hath disgraced me, and/ hindered me of half a million, laughed at my losses,/ mocked my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my/ bargains, cooled my friends and heated mine enemies; and/ what’s his reason? I am a Jew.

Secondly, Antonio foolishly signed Shylock’s bond, entitling Shylock to a pound of Antonio’s flesh if he did not repay Shylock on time, even though Antonio had not read and considered it carefully “..lend it rather tho thine enemy;/ Who if he break, thou may’st with better face/ Exact the penalty.”. This shows that Antonio did not fully believe that he would have to pay the forfeit. However, when he failed to repay the bond, he was shown mercy, as he was not made to give Shylock a pound of his flesh, as the bond demanded. Since Antonio was shown mercy for his foolish...

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Uploaded by:   schmick

Date:   05/06/2002

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   5 pages (1,098 words)

Views:   2193

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