Character Sketch

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One of the main characters in, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Shylock possesses three strong traits. They are his religion, selfishness, and his longing for revenge. Throughout the script, many opportunities are given to experience these three traits.


A battle of religion is shown throughout the text, Christians verses the Jewish. Shylock is a religious Jew. “…/I hate him for he is a Christian ;/…”(I.iii.37-49). Shylock believes the best religion is the Jewish, he shows hatred for other Christians, and some of their beliefs. Shylock often shows is spirit through The Bible and prayer. “O father Abram, what these Christians are,/…/The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this:/…”(I.iii.157-167). Throughout the plot line of this comedy, Shylock expresses his feelings through examples from The Bible and his prayers. Shylock clearly thinks he is the winner of the battle between beliefs, he never gives up.


Shylock, the mighty Jew, is selfish; he wants everything for himself. Shylock demands to have his loan paid back. “…/ Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken/ In what part of your body pleaseth me”(I.iii.140-148). Shylock wants one pound of flesh if he is not repaid for the loan he gave to Antonio. All Shylock thinks about is his bond. “I’ll have my bond! Speak not against my bond!”(III.iii.4). Shylock is constantly thinking about his bond with Antonio, either the pound of flesh is paid or six thousand ducats. Shylock is always thinking about himself and how he wants everything his way, he is very selfish.


Revenge is one of Shylock’s great character traits. Shylock wants revenge and will do anything. “I am very glad of it. I’ll plague him; I’ll torture/him. I am glad of it”(III.ii.109-110). Shylock shows happiness in the thought of torturing his enemy, Antonio. Shylock tries to get revenge against Antonio. “…/ The pound of flesh which I demand of him/,,,”(IV.i.89-103). Shylock goes to the great extent of stripping a pound of flesh away from his enemy. One of Shylock’s great characteristics is revenge, he will do almost anything to get what he thinks he deserves.


The Jewish character, Shylock, expresses his religious side, how he is selfish and likes revenge. The text in this comedy, The Merchant of Venice, shows a great deal of different personalities. Shylock sticks out because of the range of traits he possesses.





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