Essay On The Character Of Shylock In 'The Merchant Of Venice'

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Act 3 Scene 1

This scene shows the many sides to Shylock’s character, and the many factors which contributed to shaping his character and personality. Shylock is portrayed in this scene as a very calculative person who is full of hatred. Shylock does not only feel hate towards Antonio and the Christians in his society in general, he also says that he values his money over his daughter. A brief mention of his ring given to him by his wife also shows a softer side of him. However, he might have turned out this way because of the way the he was mistreated and discriminated against. In this scene, he rants about how the Christians have wronged the Jews even though they are all humans, and how we will hence behave as villanious as they have. The fact that the Christians have not treated Shylock
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To others, taking away Shylock’s religion and livelihood is not considered being merciful because they are punishing Shylock for trying to get what was rightfully his. This shows that the value of mercy is subjective, and differs from person to person. Furthermore, there is the important question of when and how much mercy should be shown. In this scene, Shylock is asked to give mercy when he has to reason to. However, the duke claims that he is merciful to Shylock, even though he is not obliged to. Portia, who advocates mercy, grants a lot of mercy to Shylock by not taking his life but taking his religion and livelihood instead. To the Christians in the play, this is showing a lot of mercy, but to Shylock, this is hardly mercy, because Shylock claims that they may as well take his life. Hence, because justice and mercy are very subjective values, justice and mercy are impossible values to uphold in the Venetian society in the
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