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antagonist Aggression And Its Intricacies

Aggression is a critical part of animal existence, which is an inherent driving
force to humans, as we, too, are animals. The source of aggression within humans
is a long summative list, but before trying to understand its source one must
apply a working definition of aggression. Aggressive behavior is defined by
Encyclopedia Britannica as any action of an animal that serves to injure an
opponent or prey animal or to cause an opponent to retreat. (7) David G. Myers
states that aggression is any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or
destroy.(9) There are many types of aggressive behaviors, which can be
differentiated from the factual act to the hidden motives. For example, an
aggressive behavior can be negative or positive, accidental or intended, and
physical or mental. Aggression can take numerous forms, the act of hitting a
wall to release aggression has some of the same roots as playing football and
enjoying hitting the quarterback. A child yelling at his parents could be
equated, in its aggressiveness, with hitting one▓s horn when one is cut
off on 495. Aggression is also a relative construct. What might seem like a
terribly aggressive act to one person, most often the victim, might seem like an
induced response to the perpetrator.(3) Psychologist Arlene Stillwell performed
an experiment where she assigned ordinary college students at random to play the
role of a victim or a perpetrator in a small incident. Then she asked the
students to describe the situation that had just transpired. What she found was
that both victims and perpetrators deformed the truth equally to present their
sides in a better light. Victims would dwell on their lasting traumas from the
incident while the perpetrator might make the act seem like a one-time action
provoked by insurmountable circumstances. The resulting implication is that
aggression is in the eye of the beholder.(3) Due to its relative nature
aggression is extremely hard to isolate and study. Some acts are very easy to
categorize as aggressive, a first degree murder or first degree rape, but is
negligent manslaughter aggressive? The mere act of not shoveling one▓s
sidewalk might have the same effect as a cold-blooded murder but is it an
aggressive act? For the purposes of this paper aggression will be related to the
four conditions presented by Gerda Siann. They are as follows; 1. The person
carrying out that behavior, the aggressor, does so with intention. 2. The
behavior is taking place within an interpersonal situation which is
characterized by an accumulated distress or a opposition. 3. The aggressor
intends by the behavior in question to gain a greater advantage than the person
on the other side of the aggression. 4. The aggressor carrying out the behavior
has either provoked the situation or moved the conflict unto a higher degree of
strength.(11) Aggression has numerous reasons and consequences both must be
analyzed in order to see from whence it arises. An explicit example of the
strength of both nature and nurture concerning aggression is the life of Kody
Scott, a young gang member of California. He was already a gang member in middle
school, and would not have been had the gang not already been in place when he
graduated from elementary school √ thus environment▓s role in
aggressive behavior, but one fateful day when he stole a car to get to the
hospital for the birth of his first child, he intentionally detoured through the
neighborhood of a rival gang and killed a rival gang member. The detour he
deliberately took was a conscious decision and not provoked by the environment
√ hence nature▓s toll on his aggressive act.(3) Aggression is
usually associated with negative aspects of the world.(3) This is not
necessarily true, though. Negativity is but half of the nature of aggression.
Aggression can have very positive results. For example, a non-aggressive hockey
player gets thrown around and will therefore not perform very well in an
bellicose sport. On the other hand an aggressive player will not allow himself
to be thrown around like the aforementioned player and will most likely win the
small battles just based on the mentality of the player.(5) Another example of
positive aspects of aggression might be a person▓s sexual aggressiveness
might allow them to obtain a date to prom without any problem, whereas anyone
much less aggressive person would be passive and wait for the person to approach
them. One good aspects of aggressiveness might be ambitiousness or
assertiveness, an aggressive person is more likely to get what they ... more

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Merchant Of Venice: Shylock the Antagonist?


In The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, there appears
Shylock.  He is a Jew, that much we are told in the cast list.
But, as the play unfolds Shylock is seen to be the villian.  He is
protrayed as being cold, unbending, and evil.  But is he?  Is
Shylock really the antagonist in this play or can he also be
viewed as persecuted individual who resorts to revenge only after
he has been pushed too far.

To fully understand the character of Shylock we must first look at
Elizabeathen attitudes towards Jews.  In the sixteenth century
Jews were rarely if ever seen in England.  In the Middle Ages Jews
had fled to England to escape persecution in France under the
Normans.  They were granted charter in England by Henry I in
return for a percentage of their profits from trade and
moneylending.  It is here that the stereotype of Jews lending
money was started.  Because of the tariffs placed on them by the
crown Jews took to charging high interest rates to secure profits
for themselves.  Here we see echos of  Shylock with his usury.
Finally the Jews were ordered out of England in 1254 by Edward I.
They did not return to England until the later half of the
seventeenth century. (Lippman 3-4) Jews were also viewed as devils
by Elizabeathan audiences.  Old stories portrayed them as "blood-
thirsty murders" that poisoned wells and killed Christian children
for their bizarre Passover ritu!  als. (Stirling 2:1)   These were
the stereotypes which Shakespeare's audience held in regard to
Jews.  Shakespeare himself had never seen a Jew but he goes to
great lengths to humanize Shylock even while perpetuating the
stereotype.

In Act 1:3, before Shylock ever says a word to Antonio, he lets
the audience know in an aside that he hates Antonio.  He hates him
for having hindered him in business and for having humiliated him
in public by spitting on him and calling him names such as "dog"
and "cutthroat Jew". Shylock tells the audience he hopes to exact
revenge on Antonio both for his own humiliation and for the
persecution that the Jews have long suffered at the hands of the
Christians.  I hate him for he is a Christian;. . . If I can catch
him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear
him.He hates our sacred nation . . .  Cursd be my tribe if I
forgive him (I,iii,40-49) Shylock then tells Antonio that he wants
to be friends with him and will conclude the bond for a pound of
flesh as a "merry sport."  In the second act, however, he still
seems to bear a deep grudge against the Christians, for he tells
Jessica that he is going in hate and not in friendship to dine
with them.  "But yet I'll go in hate to feed upon the prodigal
Christian. . . .I am right loath to go." (II,v,14-16)  After
Jessica's elopment, Shylock suspects Bassanio and Antonio of
abetting her escape, and this suspicion increases Shylock's
animosity toward Antonio.  We learn later in the play that Antonio
has personally rescued a number of debtors from Shylock's bonds
when Antonio says "I oft delievered from his forfeitures; Many
that have made moan to me." (III,iii,23-24) We also discover that
Shylock cannot or will not explain his reasons for demanding
Antonio's flesh.  "But say it is my humor," is all the reason he
is able to show.  The sum of Shylock's motives for hatred is gi!
ven in the rarely quoted lines b efore the famous "Hath not a Jew
eyes":  "He hath disgraced me, and hind'red me half a million;
laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, thwarted my bargains,
cooled my friends, heated mine enemies_and what's his reason?  I
am a Jew." (III,i,49-54) (Lippman 2)

Shylock himself is an alien in a society geared towards
Christians.  His clothes, customs and race make him an object of
scorn in Venetian society.  We as a modern audience are bound to
feel some sympathy for him.  When Jessica runs away from home we
realized that Shylock's most trusted prop has failed him, he
placed absolute confidence in his daughter with his house and
wealth.  The fact that he cries out for his ducats as well as his
daughter should not obscure the sense of keen personal loss he
feels.  " I say my daughter is my own flesh and blood." (III,i,34)
We also see this when Tubal tells Shylock that Jessica has traded
one of his rings for a monkey.  Shylock's lamentation for his ... more

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