The life that sweeps across the stage here includes, as well, sudden glimpses into parts of an existence that the plot by itself did not demand. When Shylock learns that his daughter exchanged a turquoise ring for a monkey—a turquoise ring that she stole from him, and that had been a gift from his dead wife, Leah, his anguish is unmistakable. “Thou torturest me,” he tells the friend who brought him the news. “It was my turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.” Are such glimpses enough to do away with hatred of the other? Not at all. But they begin an unsettling from within. Even now, more than four centuries later, the unsettling that the play provokes remains a beautiful and disturbing experience.
Shakespeare managed to register Shylock’s mordant sense of humor, the pain that shadowed his malevolence, his pride in his intelligence, his little household economies, his loneliness. We come to know these qualities for ourselves, not as mere concepts but as elements of our own experience. There’s good reason that most people think the Venetian merchant in the play’s title is the Jew.
In addition, Shylock hate Antonio for an economic, even petty reason, and remarks that
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
Although the anti-Semitism seems wrong to a 21st century audience, it is perfectly fine for the Elizabethan audience who views Shylock’s bad luck somewhat as comic relief.
Antonio also spit on him in public and called him a "cut-throat dog."
Shylock also recognizes Antonio's anti-Semitism, calling him an enemy of "our sacred nation" [I.
Antonio and Shylock, two similar businessmen of Venice, are viewed differently and are treated oppositely to heighten the drama of the play and mold a more interesting plot.
Antonio and Shylock are both successful entrepreneurs in Venice but they both have different attitudes and experiences.
Shylock is depicted as the greedy businessman while Antonio is the nice man who tries his luck.
Another way Antonio and Shylock are different is their religion based social status: Antonio is a Christian and Shylock is a Jew.
There is a trial on the bond, and when it seems sure that Antonio will die, Portia, disguised as a doctor of laws legally gets Antonio out of the situation and Shylock recieves harsh penalties.
But as soon as the villain walks on stage he is hissed and booed, unfortunately it is not as simple as this in 'The Merchant of Venice' and how the audience react to the characters is all important in making the distinction between victim or vill...
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.”(1.3.42&47) Shylock doesn’t even give Antonio a chance to bond with him and already hates him even though Antonio is a respectable businessman who has ties around the world.
Shakespeare uses the contrast between the religions of the two to show how much it can change a life in Venice.
The main way Antonio and Shylock are contrasted is their relationship to others.
When Antonio wins the trail, he wants to change the sentence so that his assets will go to Jessica and Lorenzo in his will and that “He [Shylock] presently becomes a Christian.” (4.1.403) Although both going follow through with the words of the bond, Antonio comes out the victor because everyone is on Antonio’s side and all else is against the Jew.
It is so unfair for Shylock that he actually loses his own trail even though he is the prosecution.
Shakespeare contrasts two men who could be socially equal and make them turn out and act differently.
Much before the twentieth century, anti-Semitism was rife and The Merchant of Venice is a curious tale, as we are able to see how Jews were viewed in the late 1500s - especially as Shakespeare's depiction was at odds with the accepted anti-Jewish prejudiced views in that he considers both sides of the argument....
Check your paper » The Character of Shylock in Merchant of Venice
Few characters created by Shakespeare embodies pure evil like the character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.