Shakespeares portrayal of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice is more complex than is originally thought. He is not only seen by the audience as the traditional stock villain; I hate him-p13, but he also evokes the audiences empathy such as in his famous speech: hath not a Jew eyes? -p47. Shylock is caricature to fit the profile of a typically villainous character in the eyes of an Elizabethan audience; his career in usury, his Jewish religion, and his attitude towards money and the Christians for instance, are all traditional stereotypes of a villain. Shylocks introduction to the audience in Act1 Scene3 is typically miserly and sinister; three thousand ducats, well, and in his soliloquy on p13 I hate him this conjecture is confirmed, when he reveals his true feelings over his Christian associates. The audience is therefore deeply suspicious when Shylock proposes a bond out of kindness in which he asks for a pound of flesh if the money is not repaid by three months. Although Antonio is convinced of the Jews sincerity, the audience is constantly reminded of the suspect circumstances by Bassanio, and remains sceptical; I like not fair terms in a villains mind. When Antonios misfortune is heard of by the Jew, he openly expresses his contentment; Good news, good news! and the audience feels contempt for him as a result. Shylock later has Antonio arrested and the continual repetition of the bond constantly reminds us of Shylocks trickery in Act1 Scene3.
In the following act, Shylock demands his pound of flesh and takes the matter to court. His intentions are seemingly more brutal when compared to Portias sentimental pleas for the quality of mercy. As Shylock rejects every opportunity to withdraw and show mercy, the audience begin to despise him even more, and all previous sympathy is lost, especially when he refuses the presence of a doctor; tis not in the bond. We are therefore lead to believe that Shylock is justly punished, when he is caught out by Portia; thee here no jot of blood, and sentenced by the Duke to convert to Christianity and to leave his possessions to his daughter and son in law. Despite this, the audience does feel sorry for him to some extend, as he is seen as both the victim and as humane at different points in the play. Both his money and, his daughter are lost when Jessica elopes with a Christian, and Shylocks reaction, although he does lament for his money as much as his daughter, does evoke empathy from the audience; oh my daughter, my ducats! We also learn of his wife Leah, and assume that she is deceased, to make matters worse, her ring has been sold by his daughter in return for a monkey, a deliberately wicked act on his daughters behalf; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor.
A Jewish moneylender in 16 th Century Venice named Shylock was badly treated by Venetian society. This does not entitle him to any sympathy, as much of his treatment he brings upon himself. His thirst for revenge and his harshness to other characters in the play are proof of this. The main thing wrong with Shylock is his love of money. His makes readers unsympathetic towards him. We first meet ...
The audience also pity him for the prejudice against him that he suffers from the Christians; in Act1 Scene3 Antonio admits to having abused him and even threatens to spit on thee again. As Shylock had previously attempted to befriend Antonio by referring to the common bible; mark what Jacob did, we pity him over Antonio, and understand his reason behind hating the Christians. Solanio and Salarino also mock the Jew publicly in Act3 Scene1, and Shylocks following speech; Hath not a Jew eyes? evokes sympathy among the audience, as the whole act of racism is questioned by Shakespeare-an advanced attitude for someone living in the Elizabethan era, when at the time, racism and prejudice were common practice. Shylocks determination and devotion to his beliefs; cursd be my tribe, although they earn him respect from the audience, they also drive him to avenge himself to such an extent where all sympathy is lost for him. He therefore holds the title as the traditional stock villain, despite his complex personality which is revealed to the audience..