Merchant of Venice

Essay by brainiacJunior High, 9th grade April 2003

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Racism is defined; as the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule and dominate others.

Racism is an ongoing problem, we encounter Racism and religious intolerance in our society today.

Australia is a multicultural society; many people who live here have different cultures, religion or colored skin, so racism is going to be expected with the majority of different kind of people Australia occupies.

This kind of behavior was also evident in Shakespeare time. The way Shakespeare represents some characters leaves us to question whether he was an Anti-Semitist, this means he had disregard for Jewish and their customs.

In the play the Merchant of Venice the character, Shylock is a Jew. Shylock is described, as being a Jewish alien, living in the ghetto, needed for business by Christians, who did not themselves want to practice usury, or did not have the skill for it, and yet abused for performing the very task for which he was needed.

Shylock was frustrated when his most worthy possession, Jessica, was taken away from his Christian enemies. Therefore, racism is evident on both races.

Shakespeare turns this character Shylock from the sympathetic character, which he was represented as in the beginning, to a cruel and grasping Jew. Shakespeare also refers to Shylock as being mean, evil, and selfish and having low human rights and manner throughout the play. Racism and Religious intolerance is being shown towards Shylock by the characters Antonio, Gratiano and Bassiano. This hate begins when Antonio is unable to repay the loan he owe's Shylock. So now, Shylock is demanding for his bond (a pound of flesh) and has taken Antonio to court to obtain it. Gratiano...