Essays on Shylock

Shylock is one of the most famous and well-known characters from William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. He is a Jewish moneylender who lives in Venice and is known for his cruelty and greed. He is also known for his famous speech about revenge:

“Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

How to write essay about Shylock

If you’re asked to write an essay about Shylock, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

First, Shylock is a complex character, so you’ll need to make sure you understand his motivations and actions.

Second, because The Merchant of Venice is a play, you’ll need to be aware of the theatrical elements at work in the text.

Finally, because the play is more than 400 years old, you’ll need to be mindful of the historical context in which it was written.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start by reading The Merchant of Venice and taking notes on Shylock’s character. What motivates him? How does he interact with other characters? What are some of the key scenes in which he appears?
  2. Research the historical context of the play. When was it written? What were the prevailing attitudes towards Jews in Elizabethan England? How might this have influenced Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock?
  3. Consider the theatrical elements of the play. How does Shakespeare use stagecraft to create a particular effect? For example, consider the use of soliloquies or the dramatic climax of the trial scene.
  4. Brainstorm a thesis statement. What do you think Shakespeare is trying to say about religious tolerance through the character of Shylock? What does the play suggest about the nature of justice?
  5. Write a rough draft of your essay, making sure to support your thesis with evidence from the text.
  6. Edit and revise your essay, paying close attention to grammar and style.
  7. Once you’re satisfied with your essay, submit it to your teacher or professor.

Essay themes and ideas about Shylock

  • The nature of Shylock’s revenge
  • The extent to which Shylock is a victim or villain
  • The role of money in Shylock’s character
  • The significance of the pound of flesh in the play
  • How Shakespeare presents Shylock’s change of heart at the end of the play
  • The ways in which the play challenges traditional religious views
  • The ways in which the play reflects contemporary issues around race and religion

Popular quotes of Shylock

  • 1) I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
  • 2) “The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”
  • 3) “I’ll have my bond. I will not hear you. There’s not a word of mine that shall be wasted.”
  • 4) “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
  • 5) “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! Justice! The law! My ducats, and my daughter! A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel! O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!””