Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Shylock a Tragic Hero: The Merchant of Venice

Shylock of The Merchant of Venice is a powerful character. It is sometimes said that in The Merchant of Venice there is no hero. What there is a villain and a heroine. Many people are sympathetic to Shylock and they may feel that he is a tragic hero. They may argue that he faced discrimination all the time in Venice by the Christians and this turned him into an evil person.
On the other hand, if we take Oedipus of Oedipus Rex as the example of a tragic hero then we have to say that Shylock is no way similar to Oedipus. Oedipus had some good qualities. He was a good husband and father and he was a good king. Shylock on the other hand cared for his money and wealth more than everything else. He even did not love his daughter that much and that made Jessica unhappy and she eloped with a Christian man.
In the Judgment Scene we do not find any element of a tragic hero in Shylock. Shakespeare presented the character in a way that we feel sympathy for him but I do not think that Shylock can be termed as a tragic hero. 


  1. Anonymous2:01 AM

    You cannot hope to prove that Shylock is not a tragic hero simply by contrasting him with a well known tragic hero. In order to do so, you must understand the definition of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character, for whom everything seems to go well, until he is undone by a tragic flaw. In this sense, Shylock is most definitely a tragic hero.

  2. KyronRaven8:42 AM

    I think Shylock is a tragic hero because when Antonio was asking for 3 thousand ducats, Shylock gave it to him only writing that a pound of flesh would be owed as a joke. Only after years of being spat on by Christians and his own daughter's betrayal did he want to get revenge and enforce his right to Antonio's one pound of flesh. If the one person you trusted above all others betrayed you to join the enemy, wouldn't you be the least bit angry. In Shylock's case it was his own daughter stealing the ring his wife gave him and a big chunk of his fortune, and leaving behind the Jewish faith to marry a Christian!

  3. Anonymous4:48 PM


  4. Anonymous5:23 AM

    What the fuck would a Razib Ahmed know about the English language?

  5. Anonymous10:20 PM

    wow thats was very rude of you to say that