During the coarse of reading “ The merchant of Venice” a ply write by William Shakespeare, we as a class have discussed the importance of Shylock being a villain or a victim. Even as a controversial character in our society today, I couldn’t feel more strongly about Shylock being a victim. Shakespeare has portrayed him as a victim of Racism and a part of a suffering ethnicity.
In the 1400’s, there was a lot of Racism toward the Jews. They were treated like lower class citizens, having to obey binding rules that the Christians or “higher class citizens” didn’t have to abide by. When Shake pear wrote and published “ the merchant of Venice,” it was already late into the 1500’s and times had improved for the Jews. They were no longer treated the way portrayed in the play, whish ism y first argument as to why Shylock is a victim. Shakespeare had no reason to make Shylock look like an awful person. He wouldn’t have tried to make him look like a villain unless that was what was represented and accepted by the time period.
All over our society today, we are continually reminded to be respectful of others and their property. We have examples of respectfulness or the request for equal treatment dating all the way back to Shakespeare time. A famous speech in “ The merchant of Venice,” is the Hath not a Jew eyes speech in act 3 scene l, lines 57-72. In this speech Shylock argues that he should receive exact same treatment as the Christians, because they are all people, no matter what race of religion. This is a very important statement if you really look at it because it shows that Shylock wouldn’t be so intent of hating all of the Christians if he received the same treatment that they all receive.
In line 67, Shylock talked about revenge. If the Christians can take revenge for whatever reason, whether it is because of racism or some personal argument, again why should Shylock be able to obtain those same privileges? Why should he be looked down upon just because Antonio gets special treatment? The Christians were such a majority and an over taking part of Italy in the 1400’s that Shylock had no choice but to want revenge for all the ways they treated him. I believe Shylock was just giving them an example of their own actions.