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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 30, 2013 at 2:47 PM via web

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


Honoured gentlemen of the Court,

(I am well aware that you have little empathy for me as, in your eyes, I am a Jew whom you have forced to convert on threat of death.) I am conscious that you consider me no more than a vengeful villain for insisting on my rightful payments of Antonio’s debt to me. But Sirs, I want to elucidate ON the (vindictive) adversities I have confronted, beginning (at) IN my early days. We Jews are repudiated by the (Venetian) society, our humanity denied. Certainly, you are aware of the few opportunities and rights offered to Jews in such society. Even so, I am a man who(’s) IS sincere (and truthful )and I continue(s) to attempt to make a living in a society which WOULD exclude(s) my existence. Now that I am left to reflect upon my actions and subsequent POOR judgment(s), I believe that  I ACTED UNJUSTLY(they were unjust). (Sirs,) ...... I am requesting to be heard for I am praying to be even marginally understood and pitied for may the concerning punishment be aroused and reconsidered.

Body Paragraph 1:

Raising a daughter alone and facing a cruel reality, after my wife was so cruelly taken from me, has been such a trial. You can understand how difficult it has been to make a living in such a despised profession, the only occupation that we are (only)permitted to practiSe by law. How could I make a living if I did not take interest? Many times I was cursed, called a heathen, a cut-throat dog and had my Jewish gabardine spat upon. I have borne it with a patient shrug, a badge of sufferance. I was incensed by frequent denunciations of me but my Jewish culture and making a living are my sins. I have never been understood because no one has even seen me for anything other my Jewishness. Jews remain the quintessential victims and the timeless sufferers.In the shadow of unbearable suffering, is there any sense of justice? Every indignation penetrated my soul, left me in agony, in shame. Vicious words penetrated my soul leaving me defeated and feeble on a daily basis. After what seems like centuries of insult and outrage, I felt provoked and was stirred to demand such conditions of the bond. I am undeniably at fault, and I apologise.

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

Posted April 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM (Answer #1)

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In Shakespeare's day, Jews were loathed by Christians simply for being Jews. There did not need to be a rational reason to dislike them and the Christians' own actions were often far from "christian-like" in their harsh treatment of Jews. In England, Jews had been banned for hundreds of years before Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice. Jews were distrusted, it was believed, due to their rejection of Christ in their teachings.

 Therefore, you may want to reconsider your introduction - " I am a Jew whom you have forced to convert on threat of death" - It is very harsh as an opening. If I recall, it does appear later in one of your paragraphs anyway. Perhaps begin with one of your later sentences:

 "I am requesting to be heard (for I am praying to be even) and marginally understood and pitied (for may the) concerning the punishment now in contention and under consideration.  (be aroused and reconsidered.)"

 The continue with "I am conscious that ...."

I did recommend that you start with the plight of the Jews and this should then serve that purpose. So your introduction essentially just needs rearranging and a few grammatical issues addressed.

Be careful with the spelling of "practice/practise." Use the word with a "c" when it is a noun such as "a doctor's practice" or "I went to soccer practice." When used as a verb, use the "s" such as "to practise by law" or "practise your maths skills," etc.  



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