I was wondering, do you think Shylock is jealous of Antonio and Bassanios friendship? Is this why he is being cruel?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the evidence presented in the play, Shylock's hatred toward Antonio is based on the fact that Antonio is a Christian who treats him poorly and lends money without charging people interest. In Act One, Scene 3, Bassanio assures Shylock that Antonio will pay back his loan of three thousand ducats. When Antonio enters the scene, Shylock says to himself,

"I hate him for he is a Christian,
But more for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift, Which he calls 'interest.' Curs├Ęd be my tribe
If I forgive him!" (1.3.34-44).

Essentially, Shylock's cruelty toward Antonio is not because he is jealous of Bassanio's relationship with him, but stems from the way Antonio has treated him in the past, as well as Antonio's business practices. Shylock proceeds to remind Antonio that Antonio has called him a "misbeliever" and a "cutthroat dog." Shylock also recalls a time when Antonio spat on his clothes and the numerous moments Antonio has publicly insulted him. Overall, Shylock's cruelty is his response to Antonio's antagonistic behavior toward him, which fuels his revenge.

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shylock's principal motivation of hatred for Antonio is based on several factors, including Antonio's hatred of him, Antionio's lending money without interest (and thus hurting Shylock's business), and Antonio's religion. He himself says he hates him for no reason.

One possible connection with your idea of jealousy, is that Shylock is jealous of Antonio's standing in Venice, and the fact that Antonio has friends like Bassanio at all, while Shylock is disliked

revolution | Student

No, there was other reasons for his anger towards Antonio. He hates Antonio for lending out money to people without charging any single interest, bringing down interest rates on loans in Venice, which is quite inappropriate in business industry. He also detests him for being a "Christian", but I think the main motive behind the sudden outrage against him was actually due to the hatred that Antonio show towards him, which he was being spat upon and treated like a dog, a servant by him, laughing at his failures and mocking against his victories, seemingly to taunt his every actions, trying to put him down, shame him in front of people, so he was trying to seek out vengeance for the disgrace that he had suffered and it was payback time.

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The Merchant of Venice

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