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

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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #166
    stanley2
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    Indeed, or yes. Early on, when I picked up some of the more famous plays for the first time, I remember the thought occurred, "There seems to be a source for EVERYTHING." And then he seems to have woven together more than one source, and sprinkled various things over it.

  2. #167
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    If makes me wonder if Shakespeare came up with any original plot.

  3. #168
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    The Merry Wives of Windsor and Love's Labour's Lost. Neither of his best.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  4. #169
    stanley2
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    So there you have it. The best answer to this thread's question is Mr. Yesno's username, YesNo. "Yes" won't work because one must attempt to pretend that Billy S. wrote nothing else, something I've attempted to do, which is , I'm fairly certain, impossible. "No
    " won't work either because as Mr. Yesno noted, "people make mistakes." One mistake people make sometimes is being or feeling anti-everything. It seems that Antonio and Shylock feel that way a bit.

  5. #170
    stanley2
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    That is, some of us learn straight away that a first impression or single glimpse of a Shakespeare play, however interesting, doesn't work either. The thought that the conclusion of THE ODYSSEY is the major literary allusion in the play occurs a bit further down the road.

  6. #171
    stanley2
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    Furthermore

    In Act 3,scene 3 we have Solanio's "I am sure the Duke / Will never grant this forfeiture to hold," and Antonio's reply: "The Duke cannot deny the course of law, / For the commodity that strangers have / With us in venice, if it be denied, / Will much impeach the justice of the state, / Since that the trade and profit of the city / Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go. / These griefs and losses have so bated me, / That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh / Tomorrow to my bloody creditor. / Well, gaoler, on. Pray God Bassanio come / To see me pay his dept, and then I care not!" What are we to make of this? Is Antonio suggesting that somewhere in the world bankers are allowed to murder their customers and therefore it should be so in Venice? Thus , Antonio is as goofy or melancholy as Shylock. They are both grieving the loss of Shylock's wife. There are other implications, to be sure, but if we compare the play to R&J and MND, the above is plain enough.

  7. #172
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Dear stanley,
    I don´t know what you mean with "R&J and MND", but Antonio is saying that Shylock´s demand is legal. I don´t think this particular passage has anything to do with Shylock´s wife. Antonio is mourning his own material losses and,I think, more implicitly the loss of Bassanio throug the latter´s marriage to Portia.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  8. #173
    stanley2
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    Eminent scholar J. Dover Wilson recommended comparing MV and ROMEO AND JULIET in his book SHAKESPEARE'S HAPPY COMEDIES. The passage before us corresponds to a passage in R&J. Juliet's line, "all men call thee fickle," corresponds to Antonio's "all nations." Just prior to Juliet's speech, Romeo departs for Mantua. Prior to Antonio's line, Shylock exits the scene. Shylock's next appearance is in the court scene. Further comparison results in more linguistic connections. To be continued.

  9. #174
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I see, Stanley. There is the possibility of those minute comparisons, but I often don´t see much point in them. How does J. Dover Wilson justify them?
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  10. #175
    stanley2
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    One thing at a time

    One minute subject at a time. Professor Thomas Parrott wrote that MV is "a romantic comedy, almost a fairy tale, rendered credible by the poet's art." In her book, THE FRIENDLY SHAKESPEARE, Norrie Epstein included an interview with an actor. She asked him if Antonio is gay. His reply, if memory serves, is "you're not to know, he's a puzzle at the center of the play." Antonio's "These griefs and losses" allows us to make up our own mind. In Act 3, scene 1, we learn that someone named Leah gave Shylock a ring. In Act 3, scene 2, Portia gives Bassanio a ring. In ROMEO AND JULIET, Act 3, scene 2, Juliet sends the Nurse to deliver a ring to Romeo. Romeo tells his man in Act 5, scene 3 that he intends to retrieve "a precious ring." Therefore, all the principal male characters in the two plays have been given a ring except Antonio. One may then argue that is because he is gay and loves Bassanio or he loved Leah who married Shylock.
    Last edited by stanley2; 03-05-2020 at 11:31 AM. Reason: spelling

  11. #176
    stanley2
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    More Regarding Professor Wilson

    Wilson's book is in a library miles away. I believe he simply wrote that comparison is "interesting" and both plays have tragical and comical elements. He also wrote that he found Shakespeare's sympathies were no less for Shylock than "the spitting Antonio." Perhaps this opinion is more likely if R&J is fresh in the mind of the reader. For example, Romeo's "The time and my intents are savage wild, / More fierce and more inexorable far / Than empty tigers or the roaring sea"(ROM5.3.37-9) clearly corresponds to lines from Antonio and Gratiano in Act 4, scene 1 of MV.

  12. #177
    stanley2
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    The main conflict

    In Act 5, scene 3 of R&J, Romeo and Count Paris are both grieving the reported death of Juliet. They confront each other and Romeo kills Paris. In MV, we find Shylock and Antonio in confrontation. In the former, the reader knows that Juliet is still alive. In the latter, The characters know more than the reader regarding Shylock's wife. Therefore, one possibility is that, once again, both parties are grieving the loss of a lady and are rival lovers.

  13. #178
    stanley2
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    More linguistic connections

    In the first scene of MV we find: "I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it, / And if it stand as you yourself still do, / Within the eye of honor, be assured / My purse, my person, my extremest means / Lie all unlocked to your occasions." Therefore, Antonio is much concerned with the concept of "honor," as was Tybalt: "Now, by the stock and honor of my kin, / To strike him dead I hold it not a sin"(ROM1.5.60-1). Capulet responds to his nephew: "Why, how now, kinsman? "Wherefore storm you so?" In Act one, scene 3 of MV we have: "Why look you, how you storm!" We may then infer various things.

  14. #179
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I feel we are having this discussion for years. If one concentrates to much on certain recurrent details present in several plays one loses the specificity of the play at hand. For example, this about Shylock´s deceased wife. Antonio had his prejudices. They would hardly allow him to fall in love with a Jewess.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  15. #180
    stanley2
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    There are three lines in KING LEAR that I like to recall. In the first scene, Kent says to Lear: "This is not altogether fool, my lord." Gloucester's last line is "And that's true too." In the last scene Lear says to Kent: "You are welcome hither." Documenting that Antonio is as goofy or melancholy as Shylock is specific to MV and is in keeping with Professor Wilson's comments(see note 176 above).

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