What impression of Shylock is created in act 1, scene 3 of The Merchant of Venice?

The impression of Shylock created in Act 1, Scene 3, is of a complex individual. On the one hand, he comes across as a greedy, hateful man, a person one wouldn’t automatically trust. On the other hand, he earns sympathy due to the appalling abuse he suffers on a regular basis due to his being a Jew.

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The portrayal of Shylock in act 1, scene 3 of The Merchant of Venice sets the stage for what’s to follow. Once this scene is complete, we have a pretty good idea of Shylock and what kind of character he is. Shylock is introduced to us in all his complexity, as both a ruthless businessman and as a hated member of a persecuted minority.

Shylock doesn’t exactly go out of his way to invite sympathy in this particular scene, but he deserves it nonetheless. As a Jew, he’s routinely subjected to all manner of abuse and indignity, not to mention legal disabilities which inhibit his freedom of movement and what trades he’s allowed to follow.

Under the circumstances, then, it’s no surprise that Shylock should express such hatred towards Christians. When introduced to Antonio, Shylock says, under his breath, how much he hates him for being a Christian. It seems that all the years of anti-Semitic abuse have nurtured within Shylock a deep loathing of Christians.

In any case, whatever sympathy we...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 918 words.)

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