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Please give me suggestions on how to improve this essay based on Shylock from The...

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rainbow224 | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted April 28, 2013 at 4:46 AM via web

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Please give me suggestions on how to improve this essay based on Shylock from The Merchant of Venice.

Paragraph 2:

Honoured Sirs, I would like to reveal both the verbal and physical abuse I have suffered at the hands of both adults and children. I have been made the hard, savage, relentless creature which is seen by everyone due to long and cruel oppression. Other than being spat upon, I had been kicked numerous times (by not only Antonio but other Venetian Christians.) Children were no less rigorous towards me than the adults. They spoke contemptuously and ferociously whenever they passed me. Even those too young to link words to form a sentence knew utterly well the ways they should mistreat Jews. After years of (vile)EXTREME treatment, I almost became numb to everything. I have swallowed word after word, came to a point where nothing mattered. This is what I have tried to make myself believe; a lie.

 Paragraph 3:

My tolerance dwindled with years until I was unable to endure this harshness anymore and, therefore, CALLED IN(desired) my bond. Even then, consequences that followed were more punitive than anything I have confronted. The (only)ONE thing that I treasured the most was my religion and now, even that (is)HAS BEEN taken away from me. Converting to Christianity may have saved my soul; so (however), what will become of me now Sirs?  I (thought)hoped that I would be welcomed by the Venetian Christians. I believed that I would be accepted as( part of them,) part of their family, embraced by their mercy and kindness - A TRUE CHRISTIAN VIRTUE. Now I know that all of that was merely (my imagination). Neither warmth nor acceptance (is)HAVE I found. I continue to be isolated, seen as a Jew who converted to Christianity on threat of death. HOW COULD I EXPECT TO BE ACCEPTED UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES? NEITHER JEW NOR CHRISTIAN? (Even my Jewish brothers deserted me as well. No longer part of them as I have failed to make them proud, failed to retain my own religion and beliefs for which I have fought for so many years. I cannot find acceptance by either. I have become an outcast, little more than A beggar on the street, alienated from everyone. Honoured Gentlemen, I would rather die than be excluded( from my Jewish brothers.) At  least,( I was) TO BE accepted by someone, (fitted) somewhere, and  to have a family. All I am requesting is for consideration REGARDING (upon) my conversion. No longer can I tolerate being abandoned from those who I have been with since childhood. Even though all the discrimination I have received is abhorrent to me, I can endure it and bear it as I have successively done in the past. As long as I find acceptance, I will survive. I beg of you to be thoughtful regarding my conversion and show sympathy. AS I DO NOT BELONG AS PART OF CHRISTIANITY I (do not desire anything more than being a Jew again with my Jewish brothers.)WOULD LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED JEWISH AGAIN.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a fascinating character but he has a tendency to upset everyone which means others do not often feel compassion for him. In an effort to maintain his strength of character but at the same time endear himself to the Christians, it is necessary to make the Christians question whether they really want him as a Christian. By making it appear to be to the Venetians advantage to allow him to be a Jew, the Venetians are not required to back down as such and may even be horrified at how preposterous the very idea of him as a Christian would be.

Shylock is used to manipulating people so it would be quite acceptable for his character to manage to "persuade" the Christians that they are making the right decision in not allowing him to be accepted as a Christian.

"How could I expect to be accepted under these circumstances?"  Shylock is offering the Christians an opportunity to escape the embarrassment of associating with him.

These paragraphs (1 and 2 to 3) have the content and just need some adjustment - to remove any direct insults. Look at your other remaining paragraphs (from paragraph 4 onwards). Although there are strong words, they are mostly not personal. Having insulted Antonio, Shylock does apologize. He also appeals to the parents who may be reading this letter and considering it, when he talks of the disappointment and hurt his daughter has caused. Your paragraphs should now flow from beginning to end.

Maybe you could consider reintroducing the concept of not being a Christian in your conclusion and so leaving the Christians with the thought that they would be better served with him as a Jew. Then everybody actually gets what they wanted.  

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