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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 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:08 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.

Body Paragraph 4:

I would like to share the mournful real life of a boy, who was tormented in every way as everything precious to him was taken away. This is my story.  My mother taught many things. Whether it was a practical advice or ethical, her wise words gave me something to live by and to believe in. Without even realising it, her voice became those words inside my head, and her theory became those I shared with many other people and friends. She was the bank where I deposited all my hurts and worries. After being harassed by other Christian boys when I was a little boy, she would comfort me in her arms and tell me that all worries would pass. That’s all I needed; acceptance and warmth. She brought the sunshine in the house, made it pleasure being there. She was my teacher, adviser and the greatest inspiration when I needed it. She understood what I could not say. She acted both as a mother and a father after my father’s death.  My father died due to overwork. He was a Jew without opportunities so he strived at every menial job possible that would earn him money, just to keep his family alive. After his death, mother attempted not to show how lonely and depressed she was, so I would not be affected in anyway. Even so, I was lonely at times, wanting my father back. Not too long after, my mother followed him. While she was attending the synagogue, a group of Venetian Christians burnt down the building, they even dishonoured those Jews in death; they burned my mother’s body. They did not even leave her body to be buried with dignity. Everything that I treasured was taken away from me.  I was a frozen soul with just a heart that beats. I blocked my emotions, thoughts, did not even shed tears. I came to hate this society. I hated the place I live in; it is full of memories I wanted to forget. I was traumatised, dead. My life became a graveyard of buried hopes.


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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:55 AM (Answer #1)

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You use metaphors in your essay and your effort is to be applauded. Do be careful to make sure that any figurative language ties in with everything else. Check your other paragraphs. Too much will make your essay sound corny and not genuine.  

End this paragraph after "She acted both as a mother and a father after my father’s death" as there is a natural break here whereafter you go on to describe the father figure in your next paragraph.

Shylock is a successful money-lender, wealthy and disliked. Christians were not allowed to lend money for profit and thought they were superior to Jews and lent their money freely - interest free.  You are trying to justify Shylock's ways in order to mitigate his/ your sentence when they want to take away his/ your religion.They have already stripped him/ you of so much!! Make sure that this point does not get lost.

Your bitterness at the rejection by the Christian society is clear so make sure you stay focused  when explaining Shylock's character and the reasons for his/ your behavior, at the hands of the so-called "merciful" Christians.

ALL Jews suffered and this is why you are the way you are - rendered such by the cruel Venetian Christians. "I hate him for he is a Christian" (I.iii.42) needs to be measured against Shylock's reasons - because Christians have treated him (and all Jews historically) so badly. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?" (III.i.55) is Shylock's attempt to make the Christians see that Jews too are only human and if wronged and pushed to the limit “shall we not revenge?” (60) and ultimately "The villany you teach me I will execute."(62). If this is not well-defined, it will sound like a rambling old "Jew" rather than a citizen who deserves the mercy that the Christians preach.  




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