However, as an act of "mercy", Antonio modifies the verdict, asking Shylock to hand over only one-half of his wealth — to him Antonio for his own as well as Lorenzo's need — provided that he keeps two promises.
One of the main topics of discussion about this play is whether Shylock is actually a villain or a victim. He inherited a nature embittered by centuries of insult and outrage. Shylock has been made the hard, savage, relentless creature we see him by long and cruel oppression.
Appleton and Company, The character of Shylock has been performed in many different ways.
Even his daughter, Jessica, finds Shylock unbearable and she runs away from home, taking with her a chest of money and jewels. This is the cry that went up from Egypt, from the Roman amphitheatre, from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition. Initially he seems entirely concerned with money and material wealth, yet later when he learns that Jessica has sold a turquoise ring we see a sentimental side to this character.
Professor Lounsbury's chief care here is not to justify Shylock, but to come fairly off in his purpose of illustrating the 'art' with which Shakespeare makes us reconciled to the conclusion of the trial scene - the greater the difficulty, the greater the art.
One of the last shots of the film also highlights that, as a convert, Shylock would have been cast out of the Jewish community in Venice, no longer allowed to live in the ghetto.
Hales, The Athenmum, 15 December, It is, I am convinced, only modern readers and modern actors who suppose that Shakespeare consciously intended to arouse the sympathy of his audience in behalf of the Jew. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, p.