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Word Count: 485
In every play there is an antagonist or the villain The villains role in the play is to give the story action and a plot so that the reader can root for the good guy In William Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice the character of the Jewish man Shylock comes off as the villain However looking at the play on a more realistic level Shylock can also be seen as a victim of justice and the society he lives in The character of Shylock inhabited all the stereotypical qualities that Jewish people endure He is money hungry unwilling to accept anything but his own terms and he is vengeful At some points in the play the reader does not know whether or not to laugh at him feel pity or down rite hate him A cold person who only wants to see his victim suffer is by definition what makes a villain However I personally feel that Shylock is more of a victim because he is human with human desires even if they are intentional cruel First of all a binding contract was made between Shylock and the protagonist Antonio The price was set in exchange for a loan They both agreed to the terms and both understood the conflicts that would occur However just because Antonio was the most liked in the city and Shylock was the most hated the contract was brought to the light of the law Shylock was different because he was not a Christian so they could place all blame upon him He hath disgraced me and at my losses mocked at my gains scorned my nation thwarted my bargains cooled my friends heated mine enemiesand whats his reason I am a Jew Shakespeare pg 87 Looking at Shylocks punishment he received the worst penalty that could have been bestowed on him Worse than death he was forced to convert and lose all of his possessions and land I also
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