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Word Count: 793
The persecution of specific races has always been existent and throughout history the Jewish religion has suffered most from it They were convicted of heresy and often killed because of their beliefs Such is the kind of racial discrimination toward Shylock the Jewish character in The Merchant of Venice Some believe that the character as a greedy coldhearted villain which is not the case In Shakespeares play The Merchant of Venice Shylock was a victim of years struggle against discrimination toward his religion One of the most persistent charges against Shylock was that he was cruel and bloodthirsty Antonio says in act 4 scene 1 that it is impossible to soften his Jewish heart Bassanio constantly calls him a cur and insults him how can he call Shylock coldhearted when he and many other characters constantly jeer at Shylock This also added reason for Shylocks revenge He wasnt a bloodthirsty miscreant but a Jew fighting for revenge against years of being spet upon being treated like a dog being a victim to Christianity In his I am a Jew speech he gives these precise reasoning saying to bait fish withal if it will feed nothing else it will feed my revenge Act 3 Scene 1 He doesnt seek revenge personally against Antonio but against the Christians that have jeered at him and his religion for so long He explains how since he is a human like any other Christian he may seek revenge like any other Christian has The constant repetition in his speech is the word revenge Shylock is accused of being bloodthirsty and barbarous when his quest for revenge differed none from the vengeance any other human would seek and deserve Another reason Shylock was criticized was for not showing mercy toward Antonio In no way was Shylock impelled to let Antonio off easily On the contrary the agreement had been made very straightforwardly Shylock says in act 4 scene 1 Wouldst thou
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