The Greed Of Shylock Essay, Research Paper
The Greed of Shylock
In the play The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, the character Shylock is mean, greedy, money-loving Jew. He shows these characteristics in the way that he acts through his daily life. His character traits are evident in the way he loans money to Antonio, the way he acts after his daughter runs away, and the way he craves revenge after Antonio s ships do not return.
Shylock shows his hateful nature by the way he treats Antonio when he lends him money. When Antonio goes to Shylock to borrow money for Bassonio, Shylock is very hateful and rude to both men. Shylock says, “I hate him for he is a Christian” (I. iii. 39). Shylock is a Jew so he detests Antonio because he is a Christian. Another reason Shylock is mean to Antonio is because he lends out money without charging interest which brings Shylock s rates down. Shylock says he hates Antonio because, “He lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here”(I. iii. 41-42). Shylock is very upset with
Antonio because he hurts his business.
When Jessica, Shylock s daughter, runs away from home with Lorenzo, she steals part of Shylock s money and jewels. Upon finding out his daughter is missing, Solanio says that Shylock could be heard on the street crying, “A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats stol n from me by my daughter…Justice! Find the girl! She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats” (II. viii. 18-22). Shylock is more concerned about losing his money than about losing his daughter. He is so angry with Jessica for taking the money that he says, “She is damn d for it”(III. i. 30). Shylock has little concern for Jessica and too much concern for his ducats.
When Antonio s ships do not return, Shylock will not even consider taking money in place of Antonio s flesh. He repeatedly says, “I would have my bond”(IV. i. 87) He wants vengeance on Antonio. Even as Portia trys to reason with him, he still refused to compromise. It is not until Portia tells Shylock that if he sheds Antonio s blood he could lose his life, that Shylock decides to accept the money. He says, “Give me my principal, and let me go” (IV. i. 334). What Shylock wants, is a cruel punishment for Antonio instead of a civil one.
Shylock is a cold, uncaring, cruel person. All he cares about is himself and his money. He does not care about the well being of anyone else. Shylock has many cruel and heartless characteristics. They can be seen in the way that he interacts with other characters throughout the play.