View Poll Results: Is the Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

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  • Yes

    2 25.00%
  • No

    6 75.00%
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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #226
    stanley2
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    Thanks for reminding me that I misspelled the name of one of the Professors, and I have been quoting Professor Thomas Marc Parrott's textbook more, perhaps, than I should. All that I know about A&C is that Antony is "A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love"(MND1.2.20). A certain Professor did also recommend it.

  2. #227
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I did not intend to remind you of any misspelling, stanley, as I have no idea who these Professors are and how their names are spelled. I just got the idea that you were a student of Literature because you often referred to them.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  3. #228
    stanley2
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    And did you intend to refer to Mary Sidney? We find that her version of the A&C story is titled ANTONIUS. She is certainly an interesting person to read about, three years older than Shakespeare. And speaking of titles or names, after I first read Prince Hamlet's lines, "I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw"(HAM2.2.173-4), I can't help but associate the Alfred Hitchcock movie NORTH BY NORTHWEST and Shakespeare.

  4. #229
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    No, I never heard about her, thanks for calling my attention to that interesting Renaissance woman. I`ll see if I find the play "Antonius" that is said to influence Shakespeare. Here is her wiki, to start with:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sidney
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  5. #230
    stanley2
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    In the court scene, Bassanio says: "Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet! / The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all / Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood"(MV4.1.113-14). In Act 1, scene 2, Nerissa says: "Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?"(MV1.2.97-9). Therefore, when Portia says "Tarry a little, there is something else," Shylock is patiently waiting for Bassanio to step aside, they are face to face. The one is married to Portia, the other is, it seems, grieving the loss of his own wife. And thus, again, we may both be in the ballpark.

  6. #231
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Hi, stanley
    Im just getting a bit dizzy with all that unexpected pairing. You are not pairing Shylock with Nerissa, are you?
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  7. #232
    stanley2
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    An interesting question. Bassanio says to Gratiano: "But hear thee, Gratiano, / Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice"(MV2.2.173). This is comparable to the Duke's "stony adversary" speech(MV4.1.4). Therefore, perhaps, Shylock and Gratiano are each Nerissa's kind of guy. The dizziness you note may be in part caused by the subject matter of the play. As Hawkman put it, the author is dealing with the "contemporary climate of suspicion and hate regarding 'otherness'- whether Catholic or Jewish." And the first Shakespeare play I read was MND at age 14 for school. This may be why the simple answer regarding Antonio's melancholy for me is "the death of a dear friend"(MND5.1.284). Therefore, if Antonio is gay, he may have been a lover of Portia's late father.

  8. #233
    stanley2
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    Sonnet 130 is recommended at the other Sonnet threads. We read there: "I grant I never saw a goddess go, / My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground." The scholar at the Shakespeare-sonnets site tells us: "Literature abounds with incidents of intervention in human affairs by various deities. Odysseus for example is often surprised when Athena disguises herself as a maiden and only reveals herself to him as she leaves." Therefore, Bassanio's last lines in MV, "Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow. / When I am absent, then lie with my wife"(MV5.1.300-1), are consistent with the conclusion of the ODYSSEY: "Though still she kept the form and voice of Mentor"(Fitzgerald's translation). I had thought that Antonio, Shylock or both("But here's the joy; my friend and I are one," Sonnet 42) were intended by the author to be identified with Odysseus.

  9. #234
    stanley2
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    I caught a performance of late actor Brian Bedford's one man Shakespeare show titled "The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet." Such a show by a major leaguer, would, I'm sure, relieve dizziness. In sonnet 147 we find "My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are, / At random from the truth vainly express'd; / For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, / Who art as black as hell, as dark as night." Certainly one might compare "madmen's" and "The lunatic"(as found in MND). The conclusion also might recall Juliet's "O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!" and "Dove-feathered raven"(ROM3.2.75-8). Therefore, Shylock's question, "What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?"(MV4.1.69), identifies Antonio and Romeo without denying the possibility that Antonio may be gay. As Juliet changes her mind a bit regarding Romeo, so too may Antonio have felt various passions.

  10. #235
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I think you are right there. Passions often appear in Shakespeare as inconstant, that is, maybe, why the constant ones are so deeply valued.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  11. #236
    stanley2
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    Post #100 and others point the way back to Shylock's "and no satisfaction, no revenge, nor no ill luck stirring but what lights o'my shoulders, no sighs but o'my breathing, no tears but o'my shedding" and Tubal's reply: "Yes, and other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa"(MV3.1.81-85). We then recall Juliet's conversation with the Nurse: "Tybalt's death was woe enough if it had ended there: Or if sour woe delights in fellowship / And needly will be ranked with other griefs....."(R&J3.2.119-21). Juliet instructs the Nurse to "Give this ring to my true knight, / And bid him come to take his last farewell"(3.2.146-7), and Shylock exclaims "It was my turquoise, I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor"(MV3.1.107). And in due course, Jew rhymes with Montague.

  12. #237
    stanley2
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    In her book for young people, Marchette Chute wrote that "THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is a romantic comedy, but of a most unusual kind." Here, Drkshadow and others suggest, cogently, that Ms. Chute "is still deceived with ornament"(MV3.2.74). That is, the play is chiefly conventional. On the other hand, Lokasenna noted the famous line from KING LEAR: "The quandry is to decide whether.....he is 'more sinned against than sinning.'" Hawkman, Gladys, Ms. Slop(post #142) and others suggest that Shylock and Antonio are co-villains, and rightly so.

  13. #238
    stanley2
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    The play ends with the lines from Gratiano: "Well, while I live I'll fear no other thing / So sore as keeping safe Nerissa's ring." In the last scene of R&J, Romeo asks: "Ah, dear Juliet, / Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe / That unsubstantial Death is amorous, / And that the lean abhorred monster keeps / Thee here in dark to be his paramour? / For fear of that I will stay with thee"(ROM5.3.101-106). Bevington glosses Gratiano's lines "with sexual suggestion." Therefore, the author concludes the play with the suggestion that Shylock is in a fantastical, rhetorical and poetical sense, defending his honorable wife from that lusty gentleman Antonio.

  14. #239
    stanley2
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    There are other echoes of MV in AS YOU LIKE IT. "Which of the two was daughter of the Duke / That here was at the wrestling?..........Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners"(AYL1.2.258-60) recalls Jessica's "But though I am a daughter to his blood, / I am not to his manners"(MV2.3.17-18). Rosalind's first line disguised as a young man, "O Jupiter, how weary are my spirits"(AYL2.4.1) recalls Portia's first line in MV: "By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world"(MV1.2.1). There are two comic villains in AS YOU LIKE IT, the younger brother of Duke Senior and the older brother of Orlando(adding Charles to the list is optional, I think). Therefore, it is plainly reasonable to regard Antonio as a second villain in MV. And of course scholars tell us that, in AS YOU LIKE IT, the author refers to the work of Marlowe and also his death, something Shakespeare clearly would like us all to avoid.

  15. #240
    stanley2
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    In keeping with the above, we note Romeo's exclamation: "O mischief, thou art swift / To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!"(R&J5.1.35-6). Prendrelemick(#56) wrote "Notice at the end of the trial when his Jewishness is torn from him there is not much man left either." Hawkman replied: "Well to be honest, there's not much man left in Antonio when he's stripped of his wealth........He'd rather die than be poor." I do believe it in part. We have further seen that the author identifies the passion of each with Romeo, though as we've also seen, they may be grieving the loss of Portia's father.

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