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I need a bit of feedback for my Shylock from The Merchant of Venice analysis essay.
Criticism and grammar help is appreciated!
Shylock is probably the most memorable, and complex character in The Merchant of Venice, and probably even one of Shakespeare's greatest creations. Throughout the story, he is interpreted as a mere bloodthirsty villain who takes advantage of others, who are in a weak economic state. Although true, Shylock can also be interpreted as the human being, who loses his property, daughter, and most importantly to him, his religion.
Without a doubt there would be no plot, if it not for Shylock being the 'villain'. In the story, you can note his tendency for selfish thinking, and rash behavior. Shylock makes his decisions based on his temperament, hatred, and wanting to destroy the object of hatred. An example would be: "what if my house be troubled with a rat,/And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats to have it banned?" (4.1.43-45). He compares Antonio's life to that of a rat's. There he makes himself less human by being ignorant when it comes to another human's well being.
However, Shakespeare manages to humanize the character of Shylock by showing his fervent desire for revenge.He is also in a sense, demanding. One of the most important quotes in the story makes sure of demonstrating this; "a weight of carrion flesh" (IV. i.41). Shylock asks this of a man, whom he knows will not be able to repay him. Of course, since he is the antagonist in the story, it would only be fair if Shakespeare had Shylock punished for his crime. His punishment, however, seems to be hypocritical; the punishment seems to imitate the exact crime for which he is being accused of. With this, Shakespeare creates doubt of the purity in Christian love.
He might be the antagonist, but Shylock frequently mentions the cruelty he has endured at the hand of Christian's, which makes it hard to label Shylock as a born monster. By raising the doubts of purity in Christian love, Shakespeare evokes a curious compassion for Shylock, even though he is clearly disliked. Is he really the bloodthirsty villain he is interpreted as? Or is he sinned against more than he actually sins?