Do you sympathise with Shylock in Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8?

Essay by sarahbr5599High School, 12th gradeA-, June 2014

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Shylock is the antagonist of the play, 'Merchant of Venice'. He is made out to be an evil and miserly old Jew. This scene brings out some of his negative character traits, which makes a reader think negatively of him. As correctly described by Solanio, Shylock, the villain Jew woke up the kind Duke in the middle of the night to search for his daughter and his ducats. Even though the Duke reacts instantaneously to help Shylock in his hour of need, Shylock cursed all Christians. Shylock's true mercenary character therefore comes out clearly. He obviously valued his ducats more than he did his daughter. I feel that his attitude towards daughter warrants her betrayal. His trauma brought on by his loss caused him to shout out his incoherent and confused thoughts. He was outraged about the fact that Jessica fled with his ducats and precious jewels.

Even his racist side comes out and he terribly minded that his only child, Jessica eloped with a Christian. The only reason that Shylock wanted Jessica to return was so that he could get his gems and money back, even at the cost of his daughter. His cries were therefore, made fun of by the Christian boys of Venice. As a father and a single parent, Shylock's primary care should have been his daughter's well being and not is ducats. Hence, I do not sympathise with Shylock due to his selfish and miserly behaviour.