Shylock: a Victim

The most memorable character of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” has got to be Shylock. Shylock, the play’s antagonist, is a complicated man deserving sympathy. On the outside, he is the typical villain, he desires revenge at all costs. But he goes much deeper than that.   Shylock loses everything: his property, his religion and his family. When Jessica elopes with Lorenzo, Shylock is infuriated by the loss of his daughter as well as the possessions which were stolen from him. Most notable of the losses was the ring of Leah, his wife. Leah, presumably dead, was the love of Shylock’s life. “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.” The loss of this ring that obviously meant a lot to Shylock and provoked a sentimental side we have never seen. The fact that he is capable of expressing human emotions of love demonstrates the complexity of the character of Shylock.   In his famous monologue, “Hath not a Jew eyes?”,   Shylock correctly points out that he   too is human and there is no reason for anyone to mistreat him. He also points out that no one(in the play) has justified their ill treatment of Shylock. This is enough for me to side with Shylock. Shylock’s desire for revenge is justified. All his life, he was bullied by the Christians. Even though Shylock is as much a Venetian as they are, the Christians never look past his race and religion. It cannot be helped than to sympathise with Shylock’s plight as an outcast.