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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 May 1, 2013 at 3:15 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.

Body Paragraph 9:

I hated Christians as they took and killed all whom I truly loved. Once again I became a forlorn soul that filled with melancholy and black blood running through my veins; ...  I know now that I was wrong to make this assumption. I am sorry.   

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

Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:59 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the main contentious issues in The Merchant of Venice is the disparity and the inconsistencies between Jews and Christians in Shakespeare's day. The Christian community prided itself on its compassion and kindness and the Jewish community on its ability to remain proud and uphold the law in the face of any situation.

Shylock has based his system of fairness on what he has apparently learnt from the Christians - "If a Jew
wrong a Christian, what is his humility? revenge. "(III.i.61) A Christian would behave the same as a Jew, in Shylock's opinion  and would also seek revenge. Antonio shows little mercy toward Shylock when he is put to the test later in the play.

Portia points out that mercy benefits everyone as "It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."(IV.i.200) Portia points out that justice can only serve a person so far as  "in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation." Portia is trying to show Shylock that, without mercy, justice serves no purpose and no-one would be saved.

In true Christian spirit, the Duke pardons Shylock. However, the measure of compassion shown to Shylock is minor considering the importance of religion in Shakespeare's day.

This paragraph of your essay is dramatic and does present Shylock's feelings without insulting- or offending - the readers  but at the same time revealing his hurt and how real he is - just like the Chrsitians - or at least we hope that's how they feel!

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