Merchant Of Venice 2


Evil for Evil: The Downfall of Shylock
Within the various forms of literature, many notable authors have emerged as experts in their particular field. Shakespeare is viewed by many as one of the most profound and dramatic playwrights. He is generally noted for his complex dramas, tragedies, and comedies, all of which were written in a most eloquent and glorified manner. In one of his latter plays, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare attempts to portray the evil expressed by an individual who develops this way both because of the persecution he is faced with and the insufficient virtues he is given.
Few of Shakespeare's characters embody pure evil like The Merchant of Venice's ...

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Jew. According to many historians, Jews of his time were seen as the children of the Devil, the crucifiers of Christ and stubborn rejectors of God's wisdom and Christianity. However, when Shakespeare created Shylock, he did not introduce him into the play as a purely flat character, consumed only with the villainy of his plot. One of the great talents that Shakespeare possessed was his ability to make each essential character act like a real, rational person, not the flimsy two-dimensional character one often encounters in modern plays. Of all of Shakespeare's characters, heroes or villains, their conduct is always presented as logical and justifiable from their points of view (Walley).
To maintain the literary integrity of the play, Shakespeare needed to clarify why a man like Shylock would be wrought to such a pitch of vindictive hatred that he would contemplate murder. His evil must have some profound motivation, and that motivation is the evil done to him. Shylock is not ...

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and calls him a "cut-throat dog." Shylock also recognizes Antonio's anti-Semitism, naming him an enemy of "our sacred nation" (I. iii. 48). Antonio is incessantly trying to coerce Shylock to convert to Christianity; he even remarks on this note to Bassanio after the bond is made. Sensing this fact, Shylock's bitterness is fueled and his hatred is further developed. Shakespearean critic D.A. Traversi finds an additional thought plaguing Shylock. Tied in with his anti-Semitism is an apparent supremacy Antonio feels over Shylock, exemplified in his ruthlessly complacent portrayal of preponderance. "I am as like to call thee so again, / To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too" (I. ...

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Added: 7/2/2006 08:34:19 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1577
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