Merchant of Venice Personal Response

The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare can be found as a play or a movie, and has hundreds of different interpretations. In each adaptation one common theme remains: Outward appearances do not always reflect the truth and can often be deceiving. I found this both extremely interesting, and extremely relatable, because even though Shakespeare lived 400 years ago we can still see this theme in our everyday lives. On a large public scale it can be seen in politics, and on a smaller more personally relatable scale I experience it with meeting people online. I really liked seeing this because it shows that really nothing much has changed, and I like to think that even 400 years before Shakespeare’s time it was the same.

Another thing I really enjoyed was contrasting what was written by Shakespeare himself, and what Micheal Radford directed in his screenplay. If I were to have only experienced one of the variations I would not get as rich an experience as I did. I find Radford’s interpretation very interesting because as Mr. MacKnight says: “Books raise questions”. Which is true in the case of Shakespeare’s take, but Radford’s seems to answer those questions for us. For example, in the original, it is unclear as to if Bassanio and Antonio are homosexual. But in Radford’s edition he clearly indicates that there is another type of love there.

Similarly, we see more of how interpretation changes the way a story is with Shylock’s conversion to Christianity. Back when the play was written it would be clear that Shylock would be the bad guy and would go through all these terrible things to in the end find salvation in Christianity. This would be in line with the beliefs of the Christian population at the time, but would seem pretty terrible to us. So instead we see his forced conversion to Christianity as a punishment. I of course agree with the modern take but I enjoyed how by changing the way you interpret the story will completely.

In the end I really enjoyed reading and watching both things because it made me realize that I actually do like Shakespeare. All my life before I thought Shakespeare was some old bum who spoke nonsense but now that I can understand it better, I can appreciate the great story he writes. I never thought I would say this but I wish they would make more Shakespeare plays into movies. Luckily, Steven Spielberg is remastering West Side Story which I will most likely watch.

Merchant of Venice Personal Response

After reading the playwright The Merchant of Venice, written by William Shakespear, I felt somewhat broken by my different opinions. William Shakespeare creates conflicting ideas which lead the reader to ponder: is Shylock justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh? I think he is justified.

Shylock is justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh because both parties agreed previously upon the contract. If Antonio was not willing to give Shylock a pound of flesh from wherever he desired then he would not have signed the contract. Antonio knowing the rudeness he exacted on Shylock, would know the type of revenge that Shylock wants.

“I am as like to call thee so again, To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lent it rather to thine enemy, Who if he break, thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty.” (Shakespear, Act 1, Scene 3, Line 125-132).

This quote of Antonio demonstrates how he is fully aware of the consequences and he knows Shylock’s motives. Even though the contract is very harsh, it must be followed because if not, then Venice (where the play takes place) will lose all sense of order, and the Jewish people who already have less power than the Christians, will have no protection.

Shylock was justified to demand a pound of Antonio’s flesh because it was stated in their contract that Antonio knew the consequences of not following the contract. Antonio was willing to risk his “life” for the money to fund Bassanios’ excursion to find a wife. Shylock was mistreated during the trial, as Portia turned the tides against Shylock by specifying a drop of blood must not be shed. However, Shylock should have been allowed to take a pound of flesh because in doing this, it would be a given that blood would be spilled. The bond insinuates that with flesh comes blood and it would be common knowledge for Antonio to be aware of these consequences. Shylock is wrongly convicted of practicing usury because the rates were agreed upon and at the time which the play first took place, people being killed by one another for petty things, was seen as more common.





The Merchant of Venice

William (Billy) Shakespeare has a considerable roster of famous plays to his name, notable among them is The Merchant of Venice, which in the modern day is mostly known for its portrayal and treatment of the character Shylock, the only important Jewish character in the play (unless you count Jessica), and also its main antagonist. However, there’s much more depth to this play beneath what made it infamous, and certainly warrants exploration.

To first address the elephant in the room, almost everything about Shylock is extremely fascinating to examine. First and foremost, Shylock’s religion is not incidental to his actions (His Jewishness is not just a random character trait added to make him extra detestable for the audience of the time), nor is it the direct cause of them (He doesn’t want to kill Antonio because “he’s Jewish and that’s just what Jewish people do”). Instead, Shylock is pushed to breaking by the actions of others, mostly the constant discrimination from the titular merchant of Venice, Antonio. This combined with his famous monologue, in which he berates to minor characters for refusing to acknowledge his very humanity solely because of his religion. This is easily the most powerful scene in the play (at least to a modern audience), and its inclusion makes Shylock a much more sympathetic character to a degree that I doubt it could have happened by accident. Ultimately, this leads to his actions throughout the play being extremely understandable, although whether or not he was justified is another debate entirely. If the reader so chooses, this play can be interpreted as an examination of the horrible effects of prejudice on society as a whole.

While the subtext surrounding Shylock is extremely interesting, the character Antonio is almost equally so. His narrative role is that of the protagonist, but it feels like he appears much less frequently than most of the main cast, mostly because of his lack of influence on the story. His most frequently discussed trait is his blatant antisemitism, but like Shylock, his negative qualities are not his only qualities. His genuine love for his friends is his primary motivation for the entirety of the story, which would normally be considered an undisputed virtue. However, the extreme selectiveness of this trait is his main flaw. His  affection towards his friends comes at the cost of his affection towards everyone else. Just like his supposed antithesis, Antonio is a much more complex character than he first appears.

The interpretation of this play as an examination and deconstruction of prejudice and antisemitism is reinforced by the fact that almost every character is a colossal hypocrite. Throughout the play, there are frequent examples of characters making statements that directly contradict with their previous or later actions (Bassanio giving away his wedding ring the day after he said he’d never part from it, Antonio going to Shylock for money after years of abusing him, the Venetian court sentencing Shylock to essentially a life of exile from his own culture with only half of his possessions immediately after pleading he be merciful to Antonio). This subtle bit of thematic storytelling adds a lot of nuance to the narrative, presenting the supposed antagonist in a more positive light that the title character. This likely would have gone completely over the head of the contemporary London audience, so whether it was intended by the playwright is difficult to verify. However, our removal of several centuries from the play’s debut allows us to look at it from a much more objective angle.

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.

Personal Response to Merchant of Venice

Is Shylock the real antagonist in this play?

After reading the play Merchant of Venice, many audiences perceive Antonio as the protagonist because of the act of generosity and kindness that he is willing to sacrifice his body to lend money to his friend, while Shylock is the evil antagonist that wants to murder the rightful hero. In this response, I will discuss why I disagree that Shylock is the antagonist in this play. 

First of all, throughout the play, there are multiple pieces of evidence that Antonio and his friends treat Shylock horribly; for example, the big speech that Shylock gave,

“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.”

Just with this speech of Shylock, we can perceive Shylock’s anger and frustration towards Antonio and that he had enough of him often treated him poorly, just because he is a Jew. 

Furthermore, the act of kindness could be perceived from Shylock is much greater than Antonio’s. Shylock is willing to lend 3000 ducats to Antonio despite calling Shylock a dog and frequently mistreating him. This shows that Shylock is willing to forgive and forget the past and resolve their dispute. 

People argue that Shylock only lends 3000 ducats to Antonio because he wishes to take 1 pound of Antonio’s flesh to take his revenge. I can’t entirely agree with this argument because, at first, Shylock was willing to lend Antonio money free of interest, “Forget the shames that you have stain’d me with, Supply your present wants, and take no doit of usance for my monies, and you’ll not hear me. This is kind I offer.” Therefore, this shows that Shylock is forgiving and willing to offer Antonio kindness. 

Other than that, I consider Shylock as a man who stands by his beliefs. Shylock could have given up on Antonio’s flesh and taken double the money that Antonio owed him, but he refused and was destined to take revenge on him. Many people would easily hinder their goals and beliefs from gaining a profit or advantage, but Shylock did not.

To conclude everything that has been discussed, I think that Shylock does not deserve what happened to him, and he is definitely not the antagonist in this play. 

PR: The Merchant Of Venice

When beginning to read The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, I was skeptical. That being said, I think most students have complained about Shakespeare at least once in their lifetime. The diction was foreign, the register is very formal (even somehow during dirty jokes) and very different compared to what I am used to. I honestly did not expect to enjoy the play, so as you can imagine I was very surprised when I realized the play was actually interesting.

The very beginning of the book was admittedly slow, but things really started to pick up at the end of Act 1. Antonio goes to Shylock to ask for a loan (even though he is Christian and in this time money lending was mostly frowned upon by Christians), and Shylock agrees on the terms that if the loan is not repaid within three months, he gets to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio. This was a shock to me because of how sudden it seemed. At this point in the play, I didn’t expect it to be this dark. This however made the play more interesting to me because I realized at this point that the play was going to be more interesting than first glance would lead me to believe. As I read through the book, I enjoyed the switch between Portia and Bassanio’s story, and Antonio and Shylock’s story. Alternating between the trial with the chests along with Bassanio and Portia’s love story and Antonio and his friends’ adventures to do with Shylock’s gory contract gave some variety to the play. It was much nicer to get refreshed from one of the stories and switch to the next as to not get bored of one too quickly, and also to leave on sort of a cliff-hanger that keeps the mind thinking about what will happen next and feeds the reader’s thirst to continue. It was also gratifying to see the two stories come together in the end with the court case between Shylock and Antonio. Antonio was absolved from his bond with Shylock, and Portia and Bassanio’s love was questioned; Portia disguises as a lawyer to save Bassanio’s best friend (Antonio) from death, and Bassanio gives away his ring (which he promised only a day ago would only leave his finger when it was pried from his dead body). The merging of the two stories into one led to a good conclusion – which I, however, did not like. I disliked the ending simply because I believed that Shylock didn’t deserve what came to him in the end. Although I wanted Antonio to live, and Shylock threatened that, he had plenty reason to be upset. In his speech on pages 46-47, he explains exactly why he feels the way he does about Antonio, and explains that all the discrimination he has received is simply because “I am a Jew”. Despite this, Shylock experiences even more pain than he already has by losing his daughter, his fortune, his profession and his religion. Because of this, I didn’t enjoy the ending all that much.

The story wasn’t the only thing that struck my attention. The dialogue was particularly impressive to me in certain parts. The most famous and notable example of this is during Shylock’s speech. Shakespeare doesn’t just create a powerful speech, but also makes it poetic. On lines 49-51, Shylock says,

[Antonio has] 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.”

This structure of repetition creates a really powerful speech and allows it to be read more smoothly and raise intensity. Over all, I enjoyed this play. Compared to Candide, it was very straightforward and not a lot happened, but it was because of how the play is simple but effective that I enjoyed it.

Merchant Of Venice Personal Response

The Play Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare was an engaging and eventful play that allowed me to understand the separation that occurred between Jewish and Christian people during Shakespeare’s time. Throughout the play, the themes that stood out for me were prejudice, injustice, and the conflict between love and self-interest. In addition, I learned how far different characters were willing to go because of the “love” they had for others.

Prejudice and injustice were two themes that were demonstrated in this play. Prejudice can be seen through the character of Jessica. Shakespeare’s example of prejudice is shown in the dialogue between Lancelot and Jessica when Lancelot jokes about how Jessica would not enter paradise because of her Jewish father. Even though Jessica was welcomed with open arms, she would always be known as the daughter of the jew. Jessica left her religion, father, and past life where she was trapped under her father’s control for Lorenzo and Christianity. However, because of her jew bloodline, she will never be a true Christian and will always have some prejudice against her. Injustice is demonstrated through Shylock, who depicts the life of Jews and how they were treated as a result of their beliefs. Shylock’s passionate speech raises awareness about how Jews are treated and how they feel targeted. It made me realize how Shylock was feeling and how frustrated and angry he was because of the persecution he was receiving, including being humiliated, insulted in public, and harassed because of his beliefs. This was a strong point in the play, demonstrating his sense of injustice and his plans for revenge after being treated unjustly. Injustice towards Shylock is demonstrated when the bond ends. Everything was taken away from him, including his faith which was important to him and his identity.

The conflict between love and self-interest is shown through the character Shylock and Antonio. The significant difference between the Christian characters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian characters emphasize human relationships over business-related relationships. In contrast, Shylock appears to be entirely concerned with money. This is how the Christian characters see the situation. Merchants like Antonio risk their lives to lend money to individuals they care deeply about, like Bassanio. In comparison, Shylock grieves the loss of his money and is said to run through the streets crying, “O, my ducats!” “Oh, my daughter!” (II.viii.15). He appears to appreciate his money more than his daughter with these statements, implying that his greed overrides his love. However, Shylock also shows sadness and how hurt he is because his daughter left him all alone. This is shown in scene three. An example that shows how hurt he was was when he heard that Jessica sold the ring of his beloved dead wife for a monkey. Upon hearing this rumour, we see how upsetting this was to Shylock, indicating that some human connections are more important to Shylock than money. Furthermore, his emphasis on a pound of flesh rather than any amount of money demonstrates that his anger outweighs his greed.

Overall, I enjoyed the play and seeing the movie version alongside it helped me have a deeper understanding of the lives of individuals who live in segregated groups. I believe that this play addresses more than just the Jewish-Christian divide; it also shows how unfair the system was and the mistreatment of non-Christians.
This play can be applied to various groups, demonstrating the injustice and prejudice that groups have towards one another. Lastly, the Merchant of Venice emphasizes the impact of mistreatment solely because of others’ differences and demonstrates the discrimination that occurred throughout history to this day.

Personal Response Merchant of Venice

Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare was an enjoyable play to me because of the emotions of sympathy I felt, the interesting situations, and the foreshadowing. The merchant of Venice is placed in a time where prejudice against Jewish people was very evident. One character, Shylock who is Jewish, is put in a situation where he gets involved with Christian folk. Shylock gets cheated by them, loses his daughter, his money, and even in trial he doesn’t get what was rightfully his. Because he was Jewish he was treated unfairly making me feel intense emotions of sympathy for him. On page 46, line 47 Shylock has a speech where he says, “He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, thwarted my bargains…” In the speech he lists ways in which he was treated unfairly because he was a Jew and this made me sympathise with him. No one should be discriminated against because of their religion. It made me feel angry at the society which has made him lose so much. I also sympathised with him because he is seen as the antagonist of this play, even when he has done nothing wrong and has been wronged. 

The Merchant of Venice creates very interesting situations where characters do things that are illogical and this makes you interested in how it will turn out. For example, Bassanio loans money out in order to make an attempt at making more money by marrying Portia. He puts everything and his friend’s body on the line for a one out of three chance and gaining what he is after. This irrationalism that the characters have makes me curious about what would happen later in the play and what situations the characters would get into. It kept me reading and engaged because I would always expect more situations that are unrealistic and exciting.

Adding on to this The merchant of Venice has lots of clear foreshadowing which keeps you hooked to the story wanting to see what plays out. An example is when Bassanio receives a ring from Portia and is clearly told that this ring is the only thing he must not be parted from. This tells us that something is going to happen where Bassanio gives the ring away. This foreshadowing made me feel excited to see how Portia will react when that situation happens. Like my last point, it keeps you hooked to the play and allows you to continue reading and stay engaged.

This play overall was quite an enjoyable experience. You don’t really know who’s the bad or good guy, and you can decide for yourself. Each character feels good and bad. I really love stories where you can use your own perspective to determine how you perceive the story. It shows how complex the story is and I really enjoyed that part of it.


The Merchant of Venice PR

The merchant of Venice by Shakespeare shows how unfairly Christian people treated Jewish people. Many of the scenes led to me siding with Shylock as he is treated unfairly. Does shylock deserve justice? Did Antonio have mercy? Shylock was one of the characters that I grew emotionally attached to. The scenes that really locked this feeling in for me were his big speech to Salarino and Solanio, and the court scene.

In Shylock’s famous speech “to bait fish withal”, in Act III scene I he talks about how he has lost everything. His daughter has run away, taken thousands of ducats and jewels with her, and Antonio has lost the money that Shylock had lent to him. All Shylock wants is justice and Salarino and Solanio are begging for him to have mercy. They do not see why he would want to cut a pound of flesh off Antonio as punishment for not paying back the money he was lent. This speech has years of mistreatment in it making it more powerful. It seems as if Shylock has always been upset about how unfairly he is treated just because he is a Jew and the fact that he just wants revenge for one thing, he is a bad person. The long speech really shows emotion and gives off the feeling that Shylock is fed up with the world and how he is treated. If all the things said in the speech are true, then I believe Shylock deserves justice. Today, one cannot have this unethical punishment and I believe that it is horrible to kill someone; so obviously I do not think that he should be allowed to kill someone. I do though believe that he deserves justice.

I was constantly confused while reading and did not catch many details of the play. This was because of the big difference of words and grammar from the 1500s until now. While watching the court scene (Act IV scene I) in a film version of the play I understood what was said and what had happened and was in shock. My jaw dropped as I saw how unfair and slimy the Christian characters present made the situation.

During this scene mercy was also mentioned many times and I began to question how accurately it was being used. When Antonio said that Shylock must give up his religion and give him half of his wealth, I immediately felt hatred towards Antonio. Portia even started saying how Antonio was showing mercy which to me was wrong and unfair. I was appalled at how she could get away with that. It is so unfair how the system was back then and how unfairly the Jewish were treated.

The Merchant of Venice_Personal Response

Literature is an important part in the arts, it raises questions, extend and explains issues on a much more different level comparing only to visual arts. The Merchant of Venice for example, was a great piece of work crafted that raised many concerns about the basic morals and ethics of human, namely: the justification for revenge and the power, the nature of mercy. This has been shown very well through two important details: Shylock’s main speech about the unfairness of Jews, Portia’s speech about what mercy is.

For Shylock, he is a prime example of someone whose lines have been crossed because of his identity, pushing him to seek revenge and justice. Through understanding his main speech, readers can empathize with him and understand that to discriminate someone because of their originality is wrong. “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? . . . 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.” (Act 3, Scene 1, line 47-65) Shylock pressed on the matter of the universality of human. We all shares the same of many things: we have the same body parts, food keep all of us full, poisons and weapons can hurt and kill us, etc. If we are so similar in many ways, why would we want to hurt each other so bad? The logic and thought process is very simple that it easy to understand and readers can support Shylock that he should get his revenge. Therefore because humans are similar in many ways, his revenge can be justified.

However, it did not come easy for him as in the courtroom, Portia also made a sound argument as he did but about mercy. “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, it droppeth as gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes…Therefore, Jew, though justice be thy plea, consider this: that in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation. We do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.” (Act 4, Scene 1, line 183-204) For Portia, mercy is a choice rather than what we should do meaning that human chooses mercy, not vice versa. Applying this logic to Shylock’s motive, then it also make just as much sense because if he did kill Antonio, how much satisfaction will he get out of it? Even then, after killing him, will there be any guarantee that he will not be mistreated anymore? These points, too, are worth noting as it makes us questions about how our actions can be the seeds to bigger consequences that we might have to carry. Not to mention, why is mercy a powerful weapon, according to Portia? To have mercy is not to forget, but to know that even when somebody does something wrong, we do not let loose ourselves of control and poison ourselves. This goes back to the previous question: how much satisfaction comes from revenge for Shylock? Even if it satisfy him well, will he be understood still or just be seen as a cold-blooded killer whom will be shun and hated for the remaining course of his life? 

It is a hard question to answer: what is right? Revenge or mercy? For as if we do not get revenge, we will not be able to redeem for what have been lost. But on the other hand, if we do not have mercy, how worth can our revenges be? Although Shylock has every right to execute Antonio for his revenge, maybe Portia was right, that he could have taken the money that was given to him and move on from his life and have mercy for Antonio not because Portia told him so, but he can do it as his own choice. Even when it was such a tough decision, he can at least give himself peace.

Overall, The Merchant of Venice was well written with many contrasting topics, such as this one and it is a great chance for readers to understand more about the nature of topics like these and broaden their point of view.

The Merchant of Venice

After reading The Merchant of Venice, I came to the understanding that reading the play creates unique imagery and allowed me to have a more personalized interpretation of the play. Whereas while watching the play, my interpretation was not something I could still picture because the play in the movie is interpreted in a specific way created by the director. We were watching how it is already interpreted.  When watching the play in class, the tone and rhythm behind each speech were different in a way. This is because of the fact that the reader is not in control of the tone, rhythm, and imagery any more. The idea of the play has already been conveyed by the director. This meant that watching the play conveyed a stronger feeling than reading it. While reading, I felt I was prioritizing the understanding of every speech because of the different English, while watching it, the main aspect it brought to my attention was the feeling that it was convening in each scene seeing that the acting makes it easier to understand. We can see this when Portia and Nerissa cross-dressed as men.

When I was reading it, I was focusing more on understanding the context and the agreement they were proposing to Shylock and Antonio. However, when we watched it, I could see the whole scene, getting the full idea making me feel interested in what was happening. Watching the play helped me to fully understand, but I also liked reading the play because the language is interesting and I was able to analyze it.

I enjoyed the language as it not only effectively conveys, but also enhances the message behind it. I found the language challenging, as it was really hard to understand Elizabethan English. However, the way it was implemented made it more captivating as a reader.


Merchant of Venice PR

After reading Merchant of Venice I found myself questioning whether Shylock deserved his punishment and if he should deserve the sympathy of the readers. Obviously, when this play would have been first performed in the 1600s no one would have had sympathy for Shylock because of the anti-Semitic culture that was normalized in that time period. However reading the play without this anti-Semitic culture changes the view of Shylock, from the reader’s perspective Shylock’s suffering is immeasurable, but Shylock was trying to cause suffering on another human. Once again there is another “but” because Shylock trying to cause harm to another human (Antonio) was the same person that has treated him like a “dog” and made Shylock have additional suffering as a Jew living in a Christian majority city. From my view, while reading the book I think Shylock’s suffering in the form of his punishment is too severe and that readers should be sympathetic for him.

It is arguable that Shylock should be punished the way he was because he wanted to take another man’s life which is never justifiable, but the reader has to try and imagine what Shylocks scenario would have been like, his daughter was stolen by a Christian man, he has been berated and abused by Christian peoples his whole life ( Especially by Antonio),  he lost half his wealth being stolen by his daughter and then loses 3000 ducats from his bond that isn’t repaid. Shylock should still be punished because he was going to take a man’s life, but he should not be punished to the extent that his own existence is unbearable. Every human has a mental breaking point of the amount of suffering they can endure before their mental health crumbles, and I think Shylock became mentally unstable and was desperate to fill his sadness with a feeling of actually winning for once. It wasn’t Shylock’s fault he reached that mental breaking point either, he was pushed to that limit by the same people that are being punished for reaching that low point which isn’t fair to Shylock’s case. Throughout the whole play, Shylock does not experience a single scenario where he gets even close to what he wants, so in my eyes, I was sympathetic for him because that is not healthy for the human brain to not have any success in anything. 

To conclude I think that Shylock’s punishment is not justified and deserves the sympathy of the reader in the Merchant of Venice. Shylock had suffered throughout this whole play, even though he was going to commit a heinous act of taking somebody’s life, perhaps instead the court could have taken only a fraction of his estate and not forced him to renounce the one thing that he still had, which was his Jewish religion. Shylock did not deserve to lose everything he had, he had already fought throughout the whole play to keep himself together and bear the abuse that Christians had cast upon him throughout the play, I think shylock should have gotten a less severe punishment because of all the wrongings he has already experienced by the Christian peoples.

The Merchant of Venice Personal Response

For me the Merchant of Venice seemed kind of dramatic for me, but also like a classic romance movie as well. I say this because it shows us that Shylock didn’t want Jessica to be with Lorenzo, but they end up running away together. You also have Bassanio who goes to a friend who is Antonio to help him to get the girl he likes. Then Antonio goes to a another person who he does not like who is Shylock, but will tolerate him to help his friend. He than makes an agreement that he’ll pack back Shylock the money he is asking for, and if he doesn’t he will pay with a pound of his flesh. Which in most romance movies is how it normally goes but it’s with death or something like that.

As for the girls it does remind me of a princess movie. I think this because Jessica has no mother, and her father has strongly argued that she does not want her to marry someone of not his choosing, but she does anyways. As for Portia and Nerissa they remind me of still a princess movie, like the two of them had grown up together. Portia’s father had died and we don’t hear or know much about her mother other than that she probably had died as well, which is kind of like a classic Disney princess movie. Nerissa’s parents worked for Portia’s parents and they saw each other one day and became friends.

I think that the book was good, and that it was very interesting. Of course there were some parts that I thought were very emotional and sad. It has also remind me that not everyone thinks of other people as human, but rather inhuman. This is during Shylock’s speech, I felt that really sad and bad for Shylock in this scene because he and other Jews weren’t seen as human beings. To me this reflects back to the real world and that even though time as passed and racism still exist. In this scene it also made me think to never someone if different because if their belief or religion, but rather to always accept them for who they are.