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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 7:09 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 5:

Every morning I woke up(, I) and asked myself, “Will something change eventually?” My Jewish brothers (being beside me is what) gave me faith to continue (living) as they all had similar experiences. They taught me that I had to move on or I (will) would just be a doomed soul living in an earthly hell. Day after day, I tried to go (up) one step ahead into coming back to my senses and that’s when I met Leah.

Words are not powerful enough to describe her beauty. Altruistic and humble( were her characteristics), just listening to her (speak) soothed me. She taught me that failure is simply a stepping-stone on your way to success. It was (her)Leah (that) who kept me on my feet (and strong-willed). I was able to treasure and count on a person again. My wounds were healed and tormenting memories of the past were sealed; sealed with her love and kind-heartedness. Despite difficulties, we were able to conquer them together. 

An exquisite ring was given to me (from) by Leah that meant the world to me. It held our love, our agony! (and the happy and gloomy we went through together). I held onto the ring tighter than anything else. Leah and I soon were married and she gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Jessica. I believed that my life was complete; nothing would ever taint our happiness (anymore) again. I was soon proven wrong when Jessica was (at the age of 1 as) one year old and Leah was killed during the various attacks on the Jewish community. Hatred was all I could feel.

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

Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:09 PM (Answer #1)

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In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is portrayed as the stereotypical Jew. He believes in the upholding of the law; all else beside. He is not concerned if the law is unfair - it is just the law.

"What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?...
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is dearly bought, is mine, and I will have it"(IV.ii)

Hence, he is devastated when he cannot get his "pound of flesh" without spilling Antonio's blood and realizes he has been duped and outwitted by the law.

Your essay is a good attempt to explain Shylock's feelings and how he is - perhaps - a victim of circumstances, although more than likely, he is saying what he thinks the Duke wants in order to have his sentence commuted to something less soul-destroying which has rendered Shylock wishing for death in preference.

I have edited your version and hope you are beginning to realize that having too many words sometimes over complicates. It would be advisable for you to leave out the parts that have been bracketed to improve the flow and maintain the focus. You should also consider splitting your long paragraphs, if not into three, then into two.

Always consider that the person who is reading your essay wants to see your understanding of The Merchant of Venice, your own interpretation of what was or what might have been and also the rules of language.  As quite a long essay it is important - as you have done - to refocus the attention of the reader - but be careful not to simply repeat yourself. Maintain Shylock's headstrong, defiant character whilst endearing him to his audience, such as you have been trying to do.  


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