Each response should be 150 words each
Response #1.) As I said before, Shylock is not a popular/likable character in Shakespeare’s play especially with other characters because he lends money with very high interest. In other words, the other characters in the play mistreat him because they believe that he is immoral for charging such high interest for the money he lends. In addition, because they are Christian, they seem to dislike his religion and his background/culture. After all, his own daughter runs away from home as a result of her intense dislike for him.
This is a stereotypical character which Shakespeare created to show that at times even those among us who are immoral would deal with bulling. In this case, Shylock was bullied while in Venice which makes him a victim. Is it possible that Shakespeare was trying to teach a lesson? Aren’t we all human, after all? Would bad behavior warrant bad behavior? Shylock’s bullies were Christian, after all. As such, shouldn’t they have been forgiving? What do you think?
Response #2.) From what I understood of the play it is clear without a doubt that Shylock is the villain. In the beginning I was not entirely convinced he was a villain. Shylock relays some information about how he has been mistreated for being Jewish, by Antonio specifically. At this point, it does not look likely that Shylock will, or even should loan Antonio money (even though it is for the benefit of Bassanio). Shylock states “Signior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my moneys and my usances: Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, And all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help” (Shakespeare 1.3).
Then, Shylock agrees to the loan, stating “This kindness will I show. Go with me to a notary, seal me there Your single bond; and, in a merry sport, If you repay me not on such a day, In such a place, such sum or sums as are Express’d in the condition, let the forfeitBe nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me” (Shakespeare 1.3). This part of the play really raised some red flags, but I must admit I was still on the fence here as to Shylock’s villainy. He is agreeing to lend money, but there will be a terrible price for defaulting on said debt. I considered that this was perhaps just the way things were done in these times. I felt that this was simply Shylock’s way of encouraging (very strongly) his enemy to honor the agreement.
All doubt as to Shylocks villainy left me when he demanded his pound of flesh despite Antonio’s and Bassanio’s best efforts to repay the debt twofold. Shylock acted in this manner for his hatred of Antonio, and Christians in general I assume. Only a villain would demand such a cruel punishment despite one’s best efforts to rectify the debt (which Bassanio was more than willing to do so). Shylock is cast in a vindictive and spiteful light here. It also ended any previous thoughts I had as to whether the original loan was meant for anything less than malicious intent.
Response #3.) In William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the character Shylock is neither the villain or the victim. Through the eyes of the other characters such as Bassanio and Antonio, Shylock’s appears to be someone that is obsessed with money. However, Shylock is best described as a business man of principle. Shylock’s focus on economics is a reflection of everyone else around him defining themselves by wealth. Bassanio is a good example of this, as he is infatuated with Portia because she is extremely rich. It is evident there is a lack of respect for Shylock’s Jewish faith, and others perceive his faith to be the reason why he is fixated on money. Shylock may have been subjected to religious bigotry, but he also does the same to others. In Act 1, Scene 1 Shylock states “I hate him for he is a Christian.
But more for that in low simplicity, He lends out money gratis and brings down, The rate of usance here with us in Venice” (Shakespeare). This example of him hating someone else because of their faith, but also because they are horrible with money. He experiences the bigotry and he dishes it out, so he is neither the villain or the victim.
By going to the extreme when setting the terms of loan repayment, Shylock is proving he is a business man of principle and not someone to be taken advantage of under any circumstance. Shylock requiring a pound of flesh as penalty for defaulting on a loan proves that it isn’t just about the money with him. However, his terms of loan repayment aren’t just about economic standards, it’s also fueled by revenge. This is revenge for those who have used his religion against him. As Shylock would say, “If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction” (Shakespeare, Act 3 Scene 1). Shylock doesn’t feel he is at fault because he is dishing out the same evil that has been presented to him.