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Shylock is definitely the most complicated character in the Merchant of Venice. Moreover, this person is among the most complex and bewildering heroes of all Shakespeare works. Although, from the first glance, Shylock seems to be a pure villain, the reader develops a feeling of sympathy for the character. Therefore despite all the negative features that Shylock possesses, he is still a victim.
This character is clearly the villain. He constantly benefits from people in vulnerable situations. In fact, this is how Shylock achieves financial success. He is a stereotypical Jew, who knows the value of money and even occupies the “classical” Jewish position of a guarantor. Sometimes it seems that Shylock values money even more than his daughter. “My daughter! O my ducats! O my Christian ducats!” (Shakespeare 31) screams Shylock when he finds out that his daughter has fled with his money. It seems he is even more bothered about the disappearance of money than with the escape of his child.
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At the same time, there are situations that show the humane part of Shylock. When the main family treasure is sold, he worries not about money but about memories that this item had: “I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys” (Shakespeare 38). This shows that there is much more in the character of Shylock than just a greedy merchant.
It seems like the attitudes of the society to Shylock formed the current state and perceptions of his character; he has never been understood and perceived only as a Jew. Thus, he has been mocked and treated disrespect, which has formed Shylock’s attitudes to life and people. As a result, people see evil and greedy character who is alienated from everyone, even his daughter is not a close person. Thus, while being a villain, Shylock is also a victim.
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