Another view on Shylock
Shylock is an interesting character in The Merchant of Venice and seems to be set up as the main antagonist for the story. However, he has had to deal with Antonio and others berating himself and other Jews for lending money with interest. Then even after making fun of Shylock, Antonio asks for money from Shylock because he has run out and also wants to give money to Bassanio so he can go and wed Portia. Antonio did not need to take the deal when it involved a pound of flesh, he could have found someone else to lend, but he did anyway. When Shylock goes to gain his payment, he is denied it through trickery from Portia.
It seems as though Shylock is feeling like he’s not treated as even a human as when he goes on his speech to Salarino, “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?”(Shakespeare). Shylock is just reacting like anyone would that feels as he’s being dehumanized. He has been made to feel that he’s not as good as a Christian. He is mistreated, and yet he is made out to be the villain, but he is a victim of the society he is in and those who think they are better than him.
On the other hand, he is not fully a victim though. He does seek revenge against Antonio, even though he does not actually have to and is given twice what is owed. At this point, he can’t even see past his rage from what has happened to him. Shylock can’t be called a total victim in this manner, but he is not fully villainous due to the events that have led him to get tot his point.