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Word Count: 675
Christians are superior to Jews Such was the attitude of the Elizabethan audiences This audience saw Shylock as the villain because according to them evil was an inherent trait of a Jew In order to make all the negative traits of Shylock the Jew more apparent Shakespeare created a contrast Antonio who is meant to contrast Shylock is used to make the Jews flaws more obvious to the Elizabethans When Shylock and Antonio meet their words of confrontation show how each is nearly the opposite of his fellow To highlight the Jews stinginess Shakespeare has the two protagonists argue about it Shylock prides himself on his thrift while in the gentile world it was most probably as it is today looked down upon Antonio in contrast prides himself on having an open wallet Antonio spares no expense for his friend Bassanios happiness even his life he would willfully give Also this caring for a friend contrasts Shylocks sentiments Shylock didnt care about his daughter after she betrayed him but only wanted his possessions to be returned Furthermore the kind Antonio is happy while the angry Shylock only becomes more bitter as the play progresses Both happiness and being free with ones money were looked upon as positive things in Elizabethan times Both traits were obviously portrayed by Antonio the Christian while Shylock was the owner of the opposite characteristics frowned upon in those times Kindness is another virtue in the book embodied by Antonio While Shylocks love of money or ambition preclude any such kindness Antonio is a charitable man Antonio helps those in need of a loan lending money free of interest Thus he would attract borrowers giving them an alternative to borrowing ducats at Shylocks astronomical interest rates Because he is so amiable Antonio is constantly accompanied by friends Shylock the Jew however is nearly always alone spending precious few minutes with his single friend Tubal This seeming popularity of Antonio is another
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