The character of Shylock is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling creations. However, critical debate continues to swirl as to his specific role in The Merchant of Venice. Most of this debate centers on the question of whether Shylock functions as a villain or a tragic hero. In your paper, you will develop an argument for whether you believe him to be a villain or a hero, taking a firm and well-supported stance on your position.

In your paper

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Describe both the role of the villain and the tragic hero. Make sure to explain how these roles were represented in Elizabethan culture through an appeal to the text of the play and scholarly outside sources.

Establish an argument for placing Shylock as either a tragic hero or villain. Make sure to reference specific actions that help classify his character.

Throughout your paper, take care to avoid simple definitions and rely on primary and scholarly sources.

Additionally, your argument should be aware of Elizabethan attitudes towards the Jewish people and Judaism.The Library should serve as an excellent resource as you research this topic.

Your paper should be organized around a thesis statement that is presented in the introduction and focuses on how the performance elements of your selected play can help establish audience reaction. You will restate this position in your conclusion.

There is no research requirement for this paper. Rather than basing your paper on research, it is highly recommended that you rely extensively on direct quotations from the text and examples from the video clips as evidence for your argument.

The paper

Must be between 700 and 1,000 words as well as double spaced and formatted according to APA style.

Must include a title in addition to the following information (a title page is not required). The information should be located in the top left hand corner of the first page of your paper and, like the rest of the paper, should be double-spaced:

Student’s name

Instructor’s name

Course name and number

Date submitted

Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.

Must be organized clearly, beginning with an introduction that includes a thesis statement and ending with a conclusion.

Must document any and all sources in APA style

Must include a separate Works Cited page that is formatted according to APA style.


Shakespeare, W. (2014). The Merchant of Venice (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. In B. Mowat & P. Werstine (Eds.), Folger Digital Texts. Retrieved from…

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