Merchant of Venice


How is shylock greedy?

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Shylock likes his gold. Really that is one of the running themes in this play; it is anti-Semitic and yet explores deeper issues.Sure Shylock covets his gold and wants to earn more. He feels it his right and Christians are fools to give away their riches so freely. Part of Shylock's identity is his greed. Shakespeare does this on purpose to elaborate on the running theme of the play. Is Shylock simply a greedy Jewish stereotype or is there more to him?

One of the reasons Shylock hates Antonio is that Antonio lends money for free, taking business away from him. Antonio even lends money to people who are about to forfeit a penalty to Shylock, and that really makes Shylock angry!

When Shylock learns that Jessica has run away, he mourns the loss of his money and jewels more than the loss of his daughter. He says he wishes Jessica were dead with the coins in her ears. He seems to value money more than his own daughter.

Later, he is so greedy for revenge that even money won't dissuade him. He refuses three times the debt owed by Antonio, insisting on the flesh which is worth nothing.