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Word Count: 767
In the play The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare the character Shylock is a usurious Jew moneylender Though Shylock is both a villain and a victim the strongest evidence suggests that he is a villain Bassanio Antonio Jessica and Lancelot all see this In some ways Shylock is presented as a victim of the anti-Semitic residents of Venice In Scene 1 of Act III Shylock is in court demanding that the penalty of his loan to Antonio be paid He pleads He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million laughed at my losses mocked at my gains scorned my nation thwarted my bargains cooled my friends heated mine enemies and whats his reason I am a Jew Hath not a Jew eyes Hath not a Jew hands organs dimensions senses affections passions Fed with the same food hurt with the same weapons subject to the same diseases healed by the same means warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is If you prick us do we not bleed if you tickle us do we not laugh If you poison us do we not die Here Shylock is referring to the injustices that the Jewish residents of Venice have been subjected to For instance Jews in Venice are required to wear distinctive dark clothing so that they can be recognized as Jews Also the Jews are only allowed to take certain careers one of which is money lending because the Christians believe it to be a sin to lend money and charge interest The Jews also live only in certain parts of the city and may not be citizens In the past Antonio has also personally treated Shylock with contempt He has lent money to other Christians interest-free so that they can more quickly repay Shylock thereby decreasing Shylocks earnings He frequently calls Shylock
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