Shylock :The Merchant of Venice

             Shylock's character is set as an outsider from others in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice by the mere fact that he is a Jewish person among many of the Christian faith. This fact alone sets him apart from others in addition to his practice of usury, a profession that is contrary to the Christian belief. His different style of living, dressing, and speaking also set him apart from other Venetians. His character is shown to be an outsider due to statements from the play such as when Bassanio asks Shylock to dine with Antonio and himself in lines 35-38 of Act I Scene III. Shylock answers with "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.” This shows that Shylock will do business with others in the area but is not willing to break bread with others. It is shown that Shylock considers himself a scorned outsider because of the statement made to Antonio in the same act and scene when he states, "You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spet upon my Jewish gaberdine, and all for use of that which is mine own” (111-113).

             Shylock's fate is set throughout the play. It first begins the moment he responds to Antonio's request for a loan. He asks for an extreme repayment of nine times the value of the loan, but did not stop there. He also asks for a pound of flesh if the amount was not paid in full. This alone would be considered by most to be cruel and unlawfully disproportionate.

             Furthermore, when Shylock finds out that his daughter has taken his money and run away with a Christian, he is more concerned with the loss of valuables than his daughter. This is proven in Act III Scene I when speaking with Tubal, a fellow Jew. In lines 83-85 Shylock states, "A diamond gone, cost me two thousand ducats in Frankford!” Also, he then adds in lines 86-89, "Two thousand ducats in that, and other precious, precious jewels.

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