Villains and Criminals in Shakespearean Drama Analytical Essay by Ninners

Villains and Criminals in Shakespearean Drama
Analysis of the importance of and attraction to villains throughout Shakespeare's various plays.
# 58599 | 1,489 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on May 16, 2005 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (General)

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This paper shows that, in Shakespearean drama, the villains are traditionally extreme rationalists. It looks at examples, such as Shylock and Iago, who manipulate people by knowing the way they think, while criminals, like Falstaff, are generally good-natured, but have no use for morals or law.

From the Paper:

"Shylock is an outsider not only because he is Jewish and the rest of the town is Christian, but also because he has a different value system. He makes it clear that he enjoys his role as an outsider when he tells Bassanio "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you" (I.3.33-35). In the play Shylock is both the victim and the villain. He is betrayed by his only daughter when she elopes with a Christian and loots his house of all the gold and jewels. Although he is angry about the loss of his possessions, he is devastated when he learns that she sold a memento which was very important to him. This shows us that Shylock is not motivated merely by financial gain."

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