Monday, May 11, 2015


Shylock as Villian in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice 


        In Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice the antagonist of the play is 

Shylock.  Shylock is a wealthy Jewish moneylender. Shylock is probably the 

most memorable character in the play because of Shakespeare's excellent 

characterization of him. Shylock is the antagonist in the play because he 

stands in the way of love, but this does not necessarily make him the 

villain of the play.  Shylock can be seen as both the villain of the play 

and as a man who is very human. 


      The villain that we see in Shylock is the greedy moneylender. 

Shylock charges high interest rates and when he is not repaid he insists on 

revenge.  In the play Shylock loans Antonio money, and out of jest he 

suggests that should the loan not be repaid in time Shylock may cut off one 

pound of flesh from Antonio's body.  Soon after Shylock's daughter runs 

away from home with Lorenzo, a Christian, and takes her father's ducats 

with her.  When Antonio's ships do not come in and he is not able to repay 

the loan Shylock is no longer interested in getting his money back. 

Shylock want revenge for the loss of his daughter through the fulfillment 

of the bond.  In court Shylock is defeated because of his selfishness. 


      Shakespeare also shows the human qualities of Shylock throughout 

the play.  Shakespeare brings out these human qualities by causing us to 

feel sympathy for him.  After the loss of his daughter Shylock ran through 

the streets crying "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!" as children 

followed him, mocking him.  This causes us to feel sympathy for Shylock, 

even though we may feel him to be a villain. Besides the loss of his 

daughter and his ducats, after the trial Shylock also looses his property 

and his religion. The loss of his property was certainly a blow to Shylock 

but it can hardly compare to his loss of his religion.  His forced 

conversion to Christianity brings out more sympathy for him. 


      Shakespeare's manipulation of our feelings for Shylock show 

Shakespeare's gift as a writer.  He gave Shylock the ability to make us 

hate him at times, and sympathize with him at others.  This makes Shylock 

one of the most vivid characters of the play. 

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Shylock as Villian in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice." 11 May 2015

1 comment:

  1. You are very good in writing? Maybe you looking for a job? Look on here great website which provides work for a writers! I hope you find this helpful!


Please add your comment. All feedback welcome!