How should we see Shylock in William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice? In what way is he a patriarch?
Because William Shakespeare's play "The Merchant of Venice" is a drama, and therefore lacks a narrator, we don't have explicit signposts concerning how we should see the character Shylock. Because anti-Semitism was prevalent in Shakespeare's time, we can presume that the original audience would have not been favourably disposed to him, and his request for a pound of flesh is hardly an endearing characteristic. Modern audiences see him somewhat more sympathetically than the original audiences because we understand that victims of discrimination, like victims of abuse, often are reacting to a cycle of negativity.
Shylock does act like a typically authoritative patriarch with respect to Portia. One can argue that his assertion of patriarchy over Portia and his use of money to control debtors is a form of compensation for disempowerment in the general political and social realms.
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