Hatred as a Cyclical Phenomenon in "The Merchant of Venice"
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The paper discusses how hatred that is ever ongoing, repetitive, and prevalent, is seen in "The Merchant of Venice" by Shakespeare. The paper analyzes this cyclical phenomenon, and highlights how the character of Shylock uses the actions of others to justify his own, leading to a never-ending cycle of hatred, violence, and spite. The paper points out that not only is this present on a small-scale as individual character motives unfold, but also on a more grandiose scale, where the hatred between Christians and Jews functions in a cyclical fashion.
From the Paper:"The main occurrence of hostility is found between Shylock and Antonio, or more specifically the Jewish and Christian followers. Shylock detests the treatment that Antonio subjects him to in his lifetime. Very early in the play we see their relationship unfold as Shylock says to Antonio "Fair Sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; / You spurn'd me such a day; another time / You call'd me dog;" (I.I 121-124). In these lines we can observe Shylock's attitude towards the request that Antonio has asked of him, which was to lend him money. Shylock then, fueled by the torment he had endured from Antonio in the past, sees a chance for revenge, and offers a pound of Antonio's flesh as an alternative to interest in terms of the bond, "Be nominated for an equal pound / Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken" (I.III 146-147).
"Shylock, blinded by his spite for Antonio sees no other solution but to exact his revenge. This never-ending cycle seizes all rationality that Shylock once had. That loss of judgment is shown when Shylock goes to court with Antonio. Shylock is so exhumed with hate, all that he desires is for Antonio to suffer. Furthermore, in Act III Scene I Salarino begs Shylock the question "Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh: what's / that good for?" (39-40), asking for what reason Shylock had to reap Antonio's flesh, to which Shylock replies "To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my / revenge" (41-42). Shylock's mindset is now blatantly obvious, he knows nothing but his need for retribution. Shylock reveals that the only reason he is going through with trialing the forfeiture of the bond is not because he has "... an oath in heaven" (IV.I 239) as he proclaimed, but merely because he wishes to see Antonio suffer and die at his hand, in the name of justice."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Dover Publications, 1995. Print.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Hatred as a Cyclical Phenomenon in "The Merchant of Venice" (2013, December 05) Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/hatred-as-a-cyclical-phenomenon-in-the-merchant-of-venice-153746/
"Hatred as a Cyclical Phenomenon in "The Merchant of Venice"" 05 December 2013. Web. 25 March. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/hatred-as-a-cyclical-phenomenon-in-the-merchant-of-venice-153746/>