Does Shylock win your sympathy after all that had happened to him? "The Merchant of Venice" by Williams Shakespeare

Essay by mahomedafzalJunior High, 9th grade October 2006

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"The Merchant of Venice" by Williams Shakespeare is a play set in Venice and in the Belmont area. It is a tale of love, decision and consequence. One of the main characters in the play, Shylock, makes a bond with another named Antonio. The Bond is that if he does not receive the money that he lent to Antonio so that Antonio and his friend Bassanio can travel to Belmont, then Antonio owes Shylock a pound of his own flesh. Bassanio is travelling to Belmont as he is in love with a woman named Portia and wishes to marry her.

Shylock shows much hatred towards Antonio because he insults his religion (Shylock happens to be a Jew), at every opportunity and meddles in his business deals. The evidence is in Act 3 Scene 1 Line 40-43, "He hath disgraced me, and hind'red me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies- and what's his reason? I am a Jew."

Another evidence is in Act 1 Scene 3 Lines 115-116, "Fair sir, you spet on me Wednesday last, you spurned me such a day, another time you called me a dog." From all this evidence you can just imagine how much hatred Shylock has for Antonio.

However, when Antonio's ship sinks and he cannot repay his part of the bond, Shylock takes the opportunity to take revenge on Antonio, and seeks a pound of Antonio's flesh. However, just as Shylock is to receive his amount of flesh agreed, then Portia disguised as a lawyer, twists the bond and so results in Antonio remaining alive and Shylock losing most if not all his money.

Is then Shylock , a villain who just happens to be...