Merchant of Venice

Jews worship God but unlike Christians they don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, therefore they do not follow the Christian faith. Jews that settled in Europe after the Romans in 1500’s were treated with suspicion and were isolated from general society. Some cities would not even admit Jews in. Refugee Jews settled permanently in Venice, they were very successful in trade and commerce and so were classed as being useful. Jews were forced to live in ghettos and were not allowed to participate in the social life of Christian society. This way of acting and anti-Jewish ways is known as Anti-Semitism.

The Holocaust World War II is an example of this in the twentieth century. Shylock is a Jew and Antonio (The Merchant of Venice) is a Christian. This means that Shylock has grown up in a society of Christians and has been discriminated for being a Jew. He suffered from long-standing racial and religious abuse from the Christians in Venice. Because Shylock was a Jew in a Christian world he was regarded as an outsider. This had made Shylock a very defensive person, and he has a grudge against all Christians and he despises the Christian people of Venice because of their religion and beliefs.

He is trying to gain revenge against the Christians for the way that they treated him and his people. Everyone has a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side, like a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Shylock reveals his evil side towards the Christians and so by having this ‘bad’ side, he is only human. He has an evil side towards Christians because they mistreat him and he’s only trying to gain revenge. I think that Shylock is a weak person because he knows he is different and stands out. He is singled out and alone. He acts evil and gives the impression that he is a powerful, to try and hide how isolated he feels inside.

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