Examine Shylock’s rhetoric. Pay special attention to the quality of his language—his use of metaphor and repetition, for instance. How do his speeches reflect his character as a whole?
Shylock’s wit and rhetoric are exceptionally good and sharp edged. He is clever at the art of debate and makes piercing points. On the one hand, he is quite blunt and on the other he can be surprisingly witty. However, that does not mean he talks nonsense or teases others only for the sake of pleasure. All throughout the drama, he offers a very good glimpse of how he can use the power of rhetoric to trouble his adversaries. He makes an impression with his rhetoric right with his entry. He mixes sarcasm, rebuke and counsel in his words to make stunning arguments. His rhetoric is also the reason behind his towering presence over the other characters in the drama.
He considers Antonio a kid who does not know his business and wastes money lending it free of interest. Antonio has been verbal about Shylock’s greed and ugly business strategies in the past. His arguments have hurt shylock deeply. On the other hand, the moneylender Jew makes strong arguments and his speech is manipulative but full of flavour. Adept at backing his arguments with inarguable logic, he does not hesitate to use religious scriptures to support his point.
Despite being comical, he does not sound illogical. There is always strong and difficult to beat logic in his points. He does not make straightforward points either since he knows Christians will not accept simple and weak arguments. His arguments are crafted to boggle his adversaries minds and pierce their hearts. He sounds complicated but his words are fully meditated and his tone razor sharp. Arguing with him is like walking a thin line and the chances of tripping and falling are always high. Anyone who thinks he can attack Shylock’s rhetoric has to face defeat early as happens with Antonio.
Shakespeare has not created villains that lack mind and thought. He has created villains which are like a puzzle and intimidating because of their clever minds. Unless you know where you have to target, they will slay your logic and shake your confidence. Antonio becomes an easy target because he has underestimated the Jew and kept feeding his fury. Till the final judgement, the Jew has given him his fair share of trouble and pain.
“Directly interest. Mark what Jacob did: