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Shylocks Downfall In Shakespeares play The Merchant of Venice Shylock the Jewish money lender is only partly responsible for his own downfall In fact he is responsible perhaps to a lesser extent than the other parties It is true that Shylock set the terms of the bond that was to eventually destroy him and throughout his life had led a cruel and merciless vendetta against the non-Jews It is also true that Shylocks very personality and conduct drove people from him and evoked a strong sense of unease even hatred However in The Merchant of Venice two other parties and a number of factors conspire against him and as such are also accountable for his demise For one the Christians led by Antonio and Bassanio and importantly Portia persecute and torture the Jew on a daily basis Their campaign against Shylock is perhaps even worse than his against them Also it seems that all of society is against Shylock Society itself is anti-Semitic and Shylock is baited by a number of discriminatory and seemingly unjust laws Also a number of events during the trial such as Portias guise of a lawyer conspire illegally against Shylock and contribute directly to his downfall A number of factors which indirectly contribute to Shylocks downfall of occur even before the timeframe of the play As Antonio approaches to their first encounter in the story Shylock speaking to the audience makes it clear that not only is there a deep-set animosity between him and Antonio but that he dearly thirsts for revenge As he shamelessly tells the audience If I can catch him once upon the hip I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him Act 1 Sc 3 He gives no reason other than I hate him for he is a Christian Act 1 Sc3 Such religious conflict continues throughout the play and is one of Shylocks primary motivations in life This obsession with religion
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