In Act 2, what does Shylock’s attitude toward music reveal about him?act 2

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 2 Scene 5, Shylock does not want Jessica going out because there is a “masque” that night, a party to which Antonio’s friends plan to attend and which Jessica will use as a means to escape her father. Shylock calls the sound “shallow fopp’ry” and does not want it to enter his “sober house.” Foppery hears means foolishness.  We learn two things here: first, his attitude toward music and gayety indicates what a joyless and stingy man he is, one of little spirit with so sense of pleasure. Second, however, we need to remember that those “varnished masks” in the street (painted faces) making  all this noise might remind him of pogroms, of which he is right to be frightened. So, in this way, we are also reminded of what an outsider he is to this Christian society.

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The Merchant of Venice

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