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

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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #346
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Good discovery, stanley2!
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  2. #347
    stanley2
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    The last play Shakespeare is thought to have written all by himself is THE TEMPEST. In the epilogue we find: "Now I want / Spirits to enforce, art to enchant; / And my ending is despair / Unless I be relieved by prayer, /Which pierces so that it assaults / Mercy itself, and frees all faults. / As you from crimes would pardoned be, / Let your indulgence set me free." Professor Greenblatt wrote: "For Prospero[the character that speaks the epilogue], whose morality and legitimacy are repeatedly insisted upon, this guilt does not make entire sense, but it might have made sense for the playwright who peers out from behind the mask of the prince"(see post #302).
    Last edited by stanley2; 04-07-2022 at 01:08 PM.

  3. #348
    stanley2
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    S.T. Coleridge said that Hamlet finds himself in "stimulating" circumstances. So too is the invasion of Ukraine. One might note memorable lines from HENRY THE FIFTH: "But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all, 'We died at such a place'; some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it; who to disobey were against all proportion of subjection"(HV4.1.140-153).

  4. #349
    stanley2
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    In the Signet Classic edition is an excerpt from William Hazlitt's comments on the play(1818): "When we first went to see Mr. Kean in Shylock, we expected to see, what we had been used to see,............We were disappointed, because we had taken our idea from other actors, not from the play..............so rooted was our habitual impression of the part from seeing it caricatured in the representation, that it was only from a careful perusal of the play itself that we saw our error. The stage is not in general the best place to study our author's characters in. It is too often filled with traditional commonplace conceptions of the part........" This is consistent with the idea that Shakespeare was himself well aware that his work is best understood by both seeing it performed onstage and in the study as such critics as Joseph Wood Krutch noted. Here in the Chicago area a group of actors have presented readings of the plays that have been very helpful.

  5. #350
    stanley2
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    Another passage from AS YOU LIKE IT is helpful: "Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile, / hath not old custom made this life more sweet / Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods / More free from peril than the envious court? / Here feel we not the penalty of Adam"(AYL2.1.1-5). The speaker's brother is one of the plays villains. The meaning of "court" here is not exactly the same as in the court scene in MV, yet there are echoes to the earlier plays. "Envious" might recall from R&J: "An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life / Of stout Mercutio"(ROM3.1.167-8). There is irony too as the character who replies to Duke Senior's famous speech suggests: "Happy is Your Grace / That can translate the stubbornness of fortune / Into so quiet and so sweet a style"(AYL2.1.
    18-20). Soon such lines as "I rather will subject me to the malice / Of a diverted blood and bloody brother"(AYL2.3.36-7), referring to the other comic villain of AS YOU LIKE IT, and Rosalind's echo of Portia, "O Jupiter, how weary are my spirits!"(AYL2.4.1) follow.
    Last edited by stanley2; 05-14-2022 at 01:00 PM.

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