Quotes in the Merchant of Venice

There are a lot of quotes in the Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice that are highly relevant in the modern world, but possibly the most significant one is Shylock’s line in the 1st scene of Act III in the play. His line goes “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?” In this scene, Shylock was articulately explaining to the Venetians that every person, whether part of the majority or the minority culture, is a human being capable of feeling emotions.

In the context of the play, Shylock said this because he, being a Jew, wanted revenge after has been persecuted by people from other cultures and religions. However, instead of making his persecutors realize their mistakes, he becomes like one of them due to his evil and cruel deeds. In addition, Shylock does not draw sympathy but disdain due to his thirst for revenge.

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Generally, his quote is still applicable in today’s society particularly in areas where there are multiple races, cultures, and religions. Discrimination and prejudice is till visible today, even in the United States. There are still several people, like the white race for example, who still consider themselves superior than other races and look down at other people who belong to a different culture or race. However, like what Shylock said, these people, no matter what race they belong to, are still human beings who have “hands, organs, senses, dimensions, affections, and passions.” In other words, they are also capable of being happy or being hurt, which is why it is never right to think negatively about other races and cultures.


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