PLE – 11xEN1 – Home learning due Monday 14 April

Explain how Shakespeare presents the character of Shylock in the extract from today’s lesson (here).

Use evidence from the extract to support your answer.

An independent enquirer working at:

  • Grade C will begin to develop detailed interpretations of the character based on accurate textual evidence.
  • Grade B will show imaginative insights into the Shylock, avoiding the more obvious statements.
  • Grade A will explore the impression the audience gets of Shylock through what he says and does, as well as the way Antonio speaks of, and behaves towards, him.

One thought on “PLE – 11xEN1 – Home learning due Monday 14 April

  1. Rhiannon

    Shylock is presented as cunning because although he seems ‘friendly’, really he is deceiving Antonio and trapping him:
    ‘Go with me to a notary, seal me there
    Your single bond, and-in a merry sport-
    If you repay me not on such a day,
    In such a place, such some or sums as are
    Expressed in the condition…’
    As well as showing Shylock in a villainous light, it also shows Antonio to be naive because he is seen as trusting Shylock too easily, despite the religious segregation. Antonio sees himself as better than Shylock, which then in turn fuels Shylock’s vengeance towards him specifically as he is one in particular who is singled out by Shylock for his maltreatment.

    Shakespeare also presents the character of Shylock as having a false personality, especially towards the Christians who make him suffer:
    ‘…What these Christians are,
    Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
    The thought of others!’
    Here Shylock talks to himself about the brief discussion that occurs between Bassanio and Antonio because Bassanio can see right through Shylock’s plans, however Antonio is seen to be more trusting, or perhaps less cynical so that he can have his way. Shylock is also seen as greedy because he mentions about not getting any real purpose out of the contract:
    ‘Pray you, tell me this:
    If he should break his day, what should I gain
    By the exaction of the forfeiture?’

    Finally, Shylock is shown to be taking the contract not so seriously as perhaps he was expected to do so by the Christians, and refers to the contract as amusing:
    ‘Then meet me forthwith at the notary’s.
    Give him direction for this merry bond.’
    This passage in particular almost suggests that he is impatient because he wants Antonio to hurry up as soon as possible so that the contract can be put into play, thus trapping Bassanio and Antonio.


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