The Merchant of Venice Personal Response

After finishing The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, I felt a number of different emotions. I felt sympathy but also disapproval towards Shylock and anger towards Antonio. After reading the scene where Portia (dressed up as a lawyer) enlightens Shylock of his punishment where he recieves none of the wealth (3000 ducats) he lent and has all of his estates and wealth taken away, I felt incredibly bad and sorry for Shylock. Everything was being taken away from him and the punishment worsened. I pitied Shylock because I could imagine the hurt and hopelessness he was feeling. I felt sympathy for Shylock in that moment and after watching the play, the emotion conveyed made me sympathize for Shylock even more. In addition to the punishment, it is said by Antonio that Shylock must give up being Jewish and convert to Christianity. During this scene I felt anger towards Antonio. It made me question whether or not he was the protagonist or antagonist. The Anti-semitism expressed throughout this play by not only Antonio but by the Christians was cruel and racist. I think Shylock’s speech did a good job showing his emotions and the anti-semitism he faced, to the readers and just proved how racist Antonio treated Shylock just for being Jewish. I do not believe Shylock deserved to have the ending that he did. 

Another thing I felt during this unit was the impact of both reading and watching the play. Reading the play noticeably improved my interpretation of Shakespeare’s words and language. The footnotes on the side were very useful in helping me understand what Shakespeare was trying to convey. Watching the play put all the puzzle pieces together. Any confusion or uncertainty was answered after watching the play. The emotions of the characters were well conveyed by the directors of The Merchant of Venice. I could see what reactions specific lines had on the actors. Watching the play gave an overall better understanding. Although the language was sometimes hard to understand, the overall play was fascinating to read and watch. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it.

6 thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice Personal Response”

  1. Hi Chantal, I really enjoyed reading your response! I Agree with you and I alosid feel terrible for Shylock because of the situation he was in all alone havig even his religion take frm him. I think that his speech was definitely significant in expressinghis feelings towards ANtonia and his mistreatment . I liked the way you explained a specific example where Shylock was in court and how that made you feel and the reasoning.

  2. Hi Chantal, I really like that you talk about sympathy for Shylock because even tho he is shown as the villain, I felt the same compassion for him. I agree with you statement “I don’t believe Shylock deserved to have the ending that he did”. You described very well how reading the book and watching the play impacted your understanding. Good job!

  3. Hello Chantal, good response! I can’t agree with you more! I had the same thoughts and feelings as you when they announced Shylock’s punishment. I also pity Shylock and think that he does not deserve the punishment and that the protagonists are as flawed and cruel as Shylock is. And I think that the movie helped me a lot in understanding the play too! Other than that, I agree that Shylock’s speech makes him seem human rather than a cold-hearted jew, and it helps the reader create pettiness towShylockylock.

  4. Chantal your PR is magnificent. I also felt sympathy towards Shylock’s suffering and punishments. I like how you talked about both the play and book and reading your response made me realize that I feel exactly the same. It is easier to interpret Shakespeare’s words. I agree that watching the play and reading the book put the puzzle pieces together.

  5. Nice job Chantal! You made some interesting points, and I agree with the empathy you described as having for Shylock. A critic that I have is that your writing became a little repetitive in the middle of the first paragraph. I would also have liked to see some direct quotes as I think that it would bring more form and liven your writing. Overall great job! You made some good points!

  6. Chantal, I like how you made reference to the play and to the book. It was nice to hear your views on the book and film and how you liked both.

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