Shylock

Merchant of Venice

The Demonic Hatred of Shylock

by bunpeiris

If you prick us, do we not bleed? [MV Act iii, Sc.i]

What’s the foremost of the reason for Shylock’s hatred toward Antonio?
The main reason for Shylock’s hatred toward Antonio is money. It is not the lack of money, but surplus of money. That was the root cause of Shylock’s hatred towards Antonio. Antonio lent money without interest resulting in loss of business to Shylock, the jewish Moneylender. Such were the circumstances in which Shylock resorted to say He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies.” on the speech.
Antonio could not pay the money by the due date because his ships were wrecked, so Antonio requested for favorable arrangements. Shylock would have none of those. Shylock was bent on nothing but revenge by means of enforcing the hazardous terms of the bond of debt. Shylock warned and affirmed that he was indeed serious:“Thou call’dst me a dog before thou hast a cuase, But since I am a dog, beware my fangs.

The Line of Argument of Shylock
Shylock effectively uses ethos, pathos, and logos in the speech with parallelism structures and rhetorical questions. The Greek philosopher Aristotle [384-322 BC]
Ethos [appeal to the authority or honesty of the presenter]
Shylock reminds the audience that the conduct of Antonio is not worthy that of a gentleman or a merchant prince: ‘He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies.

Pathos [appeal to the audience’s emotions]
Shylock uses pathos to humanly appeal to Christians to remind them that he wasn’t treated as a fellow human being:’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?

But to prejudiced Christians, his appeal was just an excuse to hide Jew’s characteristics. Christian has no little pathos [appeal to the emotions] to Shylock, so he changed his strategy from pathos to logos [logical appeal]

Logos [logical appeal or stimulation]
logos [logical appeal] on the line “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” He focused on logos to show causes and effects of the actions. Then, after the line, Shylock changed his strategy to strengthen his speech and justify his action.
Shylock’s speech listing his reasons for seeking revenge is one of the best known and controversial speeches of the play.
Shylock’s speech is evidence of Shakespeare’s great tolerance and humanity: he presents a sympathetic view of persecuted Jews, arouse sympathy for the degraded Shylock.

Following tabled text is an extract from  the text bok titled “The Merchant of Venice” – Shakespeare side by side palin English ISBN 978-1-58663-850-4

Shakespeare’s Text

Modern text

SHYLOCK

To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. 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? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute—and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
SHYLOCK

I’ll use it for fish bait. You can’t eat human flesh, but if it feeds nothing else, it’ll feed my revenge. He’s insulted me and cost me half a million ducats. He’s laughed at my losses, made fun of my earnings, humiliated my race, thwarted my deals, turned my friends against me, riled up my enemies—and why? Because I’m a Jew. Doesn’t a Jew have eyes? Doesn’t a Jew have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings, and passions? Doesn’t a Jew eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed by the same medicine, and warm up in summer and cool off in winter just like a Christian? If you prick us with a pin, don’t we bleed? If you tickle us, don’t we laugh? If you poison us, don’t we die? And if you treat us badly, won’t we try to get revenge? If we’re like you in everything else, we’ll resemble you in that respect. If a Jew offends a Christian, what’s the Christian’s kind and gentle reaction? Revenge. If a Christian offends a Jew, what punishment will he come up with if he follows the Christian example? Of course, the same thing—revenge! I’ll treat you as badly as you Christians taught me to—and you’ll be lucky if I don’t outdo my teachers.

Now, enjoy Shylock’s Speech in the form of no other than Al Pacino 

Where does Shylock lose sympathy of the audience watching the play?
To Shylock, one pound of Antonio’s flesh is not only a way of taking revenge upon Antonio but also a means extracting revenge from Venice’s Christian society. That is why Shylock said “To bait fish withal.” The revenge is destroy Christian’s racism on Jewish.

Thereby, we see the extent of Shylock‘s hatred. By the end of the scene, the audience is convinced, if it was not before, that Shylock‘s attack on Antonio will be absolutely relentless. He will take his “pound of flesh.”

Do we have a justification for Shylock’s intention of having a pound of flesh?
He justified his action on the line “If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.” and reveals Christians’ duplicity on moral standards on the lines “If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?” In three lines, Shylock focused on ethos, by justifying his action and revealing Christians’ duplicity on moral standards to achieve his goal; destroy Christian’s racism on Jewish.

There’s no justification for taking the life of another human being:


‘Thou shalt not kill’

Today such agrements as that of Shylock & Antonio are not valid in the eyes of law. The agreements that lead you to crimes are null and void.

Why then did Shakespeare write such a sympathetic-sounding speech?
Unlike other less talented colleagues, Shakespeare was interested in exploring the nature of Shylock and in revealing his humanity. The usurer was, after all, a man. Why did he act so humanly? Shakespeare the artist gives him reasons-profound and numerous-for this bitterness and isolation.
Other Renaissance and Elizabethan playwrights used the comic Jew as a cliché for fun; they exploited the stock gestures, puns and actions without investigating the nature of the fun. Shakespeare explores the Jewish personality.

Evoking sympathy of the audience
The speech is remarkable in that it summons a range of emotional responses to Shylock. He shows that he is sensitive and is hurt by the prejudices that people have against him because he is a Jew. Seen him so, at first the audience, without doubt, sympathize with the Jew, whose right to fair and decent treatment has been so neglected by the Venetians that he must remind them that he has “hands, organs, dimensions, senses” similar to theirs (III.i.50). But Shylock’s pledge to behave as badly as they, and, moreover, to “better the instruction,” casts him in a less sympathetic light (III.i.61). While we understand his motivation, we cannot excuse the endless perpetuation of such villainy.

Making the Christian Venetians see that they are not at all nobler than the Jews
The Christians of the play universally assumed that they’re a nobler species than Jews, but Shylock insisted that they’re no more pure than Jews and Jews no less human than Christians with the lines started with rhetorical question “Hath not a Jew eyes?”.  On the lines “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?”,

Questioning the humility of the Christians
Shylock speaks of a Christian’s “humility” with heavy sarcasm; “humility,” he says, is a much-talked-of Christian virtue, but a virtue which is not much in evidence. The “humility” of a Christian, Shylock says, ceases when a Christian is harmed, for then the Christian takes revenge. That is the Christian’s solution, and that will also be Shylock‘s course of action, his solution to the wrongs he has suffered: “The villainy you teach me I will execute.” And toward the end of the speech, he repeats, like a refrain, the word “revenge.”

Now, enjoy the whole drama of The Merchant of Venice

Tuition in English Literature Cambridge, EDEXCEL & National at Kandana by bunpeiris

Tuition in English Literature Cambridge, EDEXCEL & National at Kandana by bunpeiris

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TUITION KANDANA bunpeiris

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TUITION KANDANA bunpeiris

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