Is Shylock A Villain In The Merchant Of Venice

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In Merchant of Venice, a romantic comedy written by Shakespeare, Shylock, a man of Jewish faith, is portrayed as the villain and obstacle of the tale. Many have argued that the play was written as an anti-Semitic piece of work because of the portrayal of Shylock. Anti-Semitism is the hatred, prejudice or discrimination of Jews in all aspects of their lives, and this treatment is clearly seen being thrown onto Shylock by one of the main protagonists, Antonio. One must ask the question now, if the role of Shylock is simply to be the villain. I say this because there is a reason as to why Shylock is a villain in the first place; the treatment of Shylock by our good hearted Christian, Antonio. The Jews are an oppressed people, so why would Shylock, a targeted Jew, not become a villain under the circumstances of which his life revolves? There are many situations that shows Shylock as the victim of this story, but his reaction to his oppression, is what drives the audience and modern day readers, to ultimately agree that Shylock is a villain. The first offence is as a result of the time period. During this era in the city of Venice, it was mandatory for Jews to wear red, so that Christians can clearly distinguish between Jews and non-Jews. Jews were seen as greedy, materialistic and devilish people, as the practiced usury; money lending void of any and all risk. That being said, the Christian Venetians felt justified in their oppressive attacks. Antonio, who can be considered the
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