Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How does one experience sympathy for Shakespeares Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Essay Example

How does one experience sympathy for Shakespeares Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Essay Example How does one experience sympathy for Shakespeares Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Paper How does one experience sympathy for Shakespeares Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Paper and 1 shylock is alluded to the devil by salerio, antonio and Portia (who has not even been acquainted with him). At the pinnacle of his anguish after the elopement of his daughter, Christian boys of Venice deride him and salerio exercises verbal aggression that is both gratuitous and undignified which would have had profound repercussion on his mental health. Salerio, after making the sexual mockeries, remarks how he know(s) the tailor who made wings (Jessica) flew withal attempting cruelly to exacerbate his woes. Shylock may possess a sordid mind but he does not intend to undertake any perverse fantasies. In fact, the unyielding Christian insults themselves represent the even more dissolute mindset of the Christian community. Thus after one considers Shylocks plight and insanity (ascribed to Christian abuse) and considers the wanton Christian enmity, pity overwhelms us. We feel indignation over how shylock is susceptible to unprovoked assaults and abuse. Shylocks compelling and phenomenal speech in act3 scene 1 resonates with self pity and is a simple plea for humanity; manipulating our emotions through the application of powerful language. He shouts hath not a Jew eyes! , hath not a Jew hands! : this is moving language artistically constructed by Shakespeare using simple, concise and succinct phrases that heightens pity and sustains the tension. The way Shylock screams hath not a Jew organs! shows that this speech is not embellished with sophistry or complex language but it is a simple plea for humanity expressed from the innermost depths of his heart. The way Shakespeare equates Ch ristians to Jews and asks whether or not they are cooled by the same winds and subject to the same diseases adds rhetorical eloquence inducing pity. Although Shylocks speech does take a sinister turn the audience still retains compassion acknowledging how shylocks deplorable mental state has been induced by relentless provocation. We sympathise immensely because Shylock has never retaliated so vigorously; this explosion is an unprecedented response caused by overwhelming anger never expressed. As his plea becomes a justification for vengeful murder we get a complicated feeling: his justification seems crazy but also a little reasonable; it seems immoral but also perhaps righteous. This demonstrates the excellence and rhetorical eloquence of his speech and how images and language contribute to our pity. There are intrinsic and striking attributes that exist in Shylock which are manifestations of his integrity and his scrupulous character. We can find distinctive components in his character that are capable of inspiring understanding and pity. In Act3 scene 1 we are informed of a turquoise ring which belonged to Leah; Shylock overtly expresses how he would not have given that ring for a wilderness of monkeys. These words are a compelling and heartfelt gesture of the sincere love that thrived between Shylock and his late wife. They reflect the love that Shylock is capable of nurturing; the ring exemplifies his capacity to love. Thus the ring is an emblem reminiscent of Shylocks decency, morality and humanity that has been corrupted and sadly destroyed by the Christian abuse. This is a poignant notion to reflect on and should entail sympathy. One can also ascertain that Shylock is a principled individual advocating the correct ideals. He is cynical of the Christians; reviling their debauched ethos; this is revealed when he articulates What Christian husbands! . The play displays a portrait of Bassanio as a prodigal, flamboyant and frivolous youngster who has foolishly squandered his wealth. He is concerned fundamentally about aggrandizing his affluence and prestige. The primary characteristic of Portia that he considers is how she is richly left- which conveys his superficiality. This shallow and foolish man ends with the best circumstance while Shylock is left desolate and discredited. This unjust image should surely inspire pity. Another possible way to experience pity is by recognising how Shylocks financial and religious freedom is implacably constricted. The Jews were prohibited from possessing any real property and a large proportion accumulated wealth by practicing usury making significant contributions to the industry yet receiving excessive Christian enmity. One of his only means of acquiring reasonable wealth is through this sensible and honest exercise yet still he is severely reproached and denounced. He is inhibited by Antonio who lends money gratis and lowers the rate of usance needlessly obstructing Shylocks success. In Act 4 scene 1 Shylock is rendered speechless as the Christian establishment exacts even more severe financial concessions stipulating that Antonio should seize one half (of Shylocks) goods and that the other half (well earned and deserved) should come to the privy coffer of the state. This is a great social injustice and would surely stimulate deep indignation and pity amongst the audiences. The Christian characters have all colluded and conspired against Shylock -a helpless victim- forcing him into a perpetual state of despair and bankruptcy. The Christians have permanently dismantled his wealth that was assiduously accumulated this should surely inspire sympathy. After the duke has delivered his verdict Shylock cannot even articulate his ineffable agony. Considering stagecraft as an integral part of the play we should note how the audience would see a cowering and defeated Shylock limp out of the courtroom. This moment is of symbolic resonance demonstrating Shylock, once a proud and prosperous citizen, now discredited and lost. It heightens our pity and sorrow as we reflect on the injustice and how the Christians have all maliciously abused Shylock. To intensify his anguish after his defeat Gratiano exercises severe needless aggression with relish echoing Shylocks own preceding words of upright judge and learned judge; the language is crafted to enable Gratiano to derisively simulate Shylocks speech in an offensive and unchivalrous manner which evokes pity for the helpless Shylock. One can discern the words scornfulness and the racism embodied in o Jew. In Venice one of Europes most liberal cities in Shakespeares epoch- the Jews were constrained to live in the citys Ghettos and were obliged to don Jewish gabardines and hats to label them as Jews in order to facilitate discrimination. With such an historical context, sympathy for Shylock surely must have resonated with certain ancient and contemporary audiences. Certainly another malicious penalty to exact is demanding that Shylock presently become a Christian; this not only embodies Christian manipulation but it is undermining an individuals livelihood by forcing him to renounce his faith which engenders his irremediable descent into despair and oblivion. This is a callous infliction; as one knows the Jews distinguished themselves ethnically and this command would have robbed Shylock of his identity. In the play, considering matters of stagecraft Shylock would have in fact worn certain garments to characterize himself denoting how he prides his faith. Forcing him to revoke his faith is a dismissal of his identity which relegates his livelihood. The Jewish garment that he constantly wore would remind the audience of his pride in his faith and the way he is dramatically forced to repudiate it. The garment is a stagecraft device contributing to the pity that one experiences by reminding us of how Christians have needlessly stolen his dignity and pride. The entire play is suffused by prominent yet underlying themes of alienation. One must not only consider the religious and ethnic alienation that has already been discussed but how Shylock is isolated and lonely. His wife, whom he affectionately and profoundly adores, is deceased. His only remaining echo or embodiment of his wife is his daughter whom he also loves. One can experience unyielding pity after his daughters elopement with a Christian because this signifies his irrevocable descent into loneliness and isolation. Our pity intensifies when we learn that Shylock drifts through the streets not only because he is stripped of his dignity but because he is articulating profound emotional distress screaming my daughter! which perturbs the audience. He has no other family; although a substantial proportion of his wealth has diminished there is no greater pain than betrayal. His woes are aggravated when his daughters lavishness and indulgence is disclosed. His daughter is revelling and basking in extravagance and does not seem to express any remorse or reluctance. This is insufferable for Shylock and the audiences pity is consolidated while Shylock is remarking how it tortureth me or how the knowledge is like a dagger that sticketh in (him). The stagecraft here is of considerable significance in the evocation of pity: in this scene, while conferring with tubal the character of Shylock would display agitated movements on stage that reflects his deep agony and his inconsolable distress. His expression would be of anguish and revulsion; he would be afflicted and plagued and this is an immense contribution that heightens our pity. This theme of alienation which generates pity is perennial and palpable through the play. It is not only Jessica who alienates and marginalises Shylock but also Launcelot who forsakes his master for no adequate reason except his masters ethnicity. Admittedly servicing Bassanios sumptuous lifestyle would constitute a more pleasant experience but Launcelot also enacts this betrayal without reluctance. Shylock is obliged to convert to Christianity and conform with a race that has oppressed, alienated and disenfranchised him. Unfortunately for him, in becoming a Christian he is now alienated by his own tribe and he now becomes what he most abhors. This not only exacerbates his situation but this may give rise to damaging psychological ramifications, evoking greater pity. Admittedly Shylock is degenerate (he cannot be blamed), but his powerful and realistic depiction incurs sympathy. Having meticulously examined Shylock we can comprehend the ways we experience pity for this character; Shakespeare contrives an image of injustice: Christians exercise excessive abuse, Christian machinations and scheming against a weak victim and Christians propelling Shylock to the brink of insanity. Acknowledging the cruel historical context Shylock is also alienated, betrayed, stripped of dignity, derided and scorned even though he has executed no crime. He possesses a callous and perverted mind two blemishes attributed to Christian provocation. There are characteristics composed in his character that inspire understanding and empathy the turquoise ring embodies his humanity. One must also remember an overlooked aspect: Shylock commands pity with sustained striking language. A prevalent notion that actively impedes our pity is knowledge of Shylocks wickedness but as Shylock himself understood it was Christians who taught him this villainy; after all he merely speculated that it would be nothing more than a merry bond and the pound of flesh was just a perverse fantasy not to be undertaken; he never actually anticipated that he would be embroiled in a circumstance that involved him, Antonios chest and a knife.

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