THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

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  • Created by: Sara
  • Created on: 16-06-11 18:52

Materialistic Shylock?.

Throughout the play, Shylock's attitude toward money and human relationships undergoes some scrutiny. When we hear about Shylock's response to Jessica's elopement, it seems like he's more worried about the gold Jessica stole than the fact that his daughter is gone. Solanio tells us that Shylock screamed "'My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! / Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!" (2.8.2). Hmm. Sure sounds like Shylock is more concerned about his money than his daughter, right?

But, later, when we actually see Shylock talking to Tubal about Jessica's elopement, it seems like Shylock isn't as materialistic as Solanio makes him out to be. Check out Shylock's response to the news that Jessica traded an important family heirloom:

Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: 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.
(3.1.14)

The turquoise ring Jessica discarded is important to Shylock because it was a gift from his dead wife, not because it's worth a lot of money. So here, we can see that Shylock isn't exactly the money-grubbing villain he's been made out to be.

Shylock's Opinions on Jews and Christians

Shylock's pained response to Jessica's actions reveal that he is deeply human, a point that he makes at a pivotal moment in the play, when Salerio and Solanio taunt him with Jessica's elopement:

Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is?

Comments

nisha

Thank u..this has been very useful! :D

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