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The Merchant of Venice is a famous play of William Shakespeare, and the character Shylock is the most vivid and controversial character in this play. Traditionally, Shylock is criticized as a cruel, greedy and stubborn villain. However, in recent years, different viewpoints about Shylock begin to appear, which considered Shylock as a social victim and a loyal Jewish. In order to defend for Shylock, this thesis offers a detailed research on Shylock from the following three aspects: history background, the text and the author. All the three factors are important to get a proper understanding of a literary work. Therefore, the basic structure of this thesis is as follows.

The first part is an introduction. It mainly introduces the theme of the thesis, the author and the general plot of The Merchant of Venice and the theory evidence of the defense.

Chapter 1 is about the social and historical background of Shylock’s time, and after presenting it, we may conclude that Shylock is a victim of social oppression and discrimination.

Chapter 2 is the analysis of Shylock in the text. By examining some dialogues and scenes, we may find several positive points hiding in Shylock’s inside, which may arouse the reader’s sympathy and understanding.

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Through the analysis from the above three aspects, Shylock is proved to be a social victim, a Jewish national hero and Shakespeare’s alter ego.

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World Journal of Social Science     ISSN 2329-9347 (Print)  ISSN 2329-9355 (Online)

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