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

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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #361
    stanley2
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    As we have seen, then, Sonnet 144 alone will not allow us to dismiss Antonio as only a buffoonish sidekick of Bassanio. The question of whether he had an adulterous affair with Shylock's wife remains unanswered. Adultery was an important subject regarding the fate of the Queen's mother, some in Shakespeare's audience might have noted. Shakespeare and Marlowe were 8 years old when news of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre must have reached England in 1572. It seems reasonable then that we would find lines such as "Go hence to have more talk of these sad things"(R&J5.3.317) in their work.

  2. #362
    stanley2
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    In a collection put together by the Mahons in 2002 we find an essay by Professor Levith. He recommends the play DOCTOR FAUSTUS by Marlowe as an important part of the context in which MV is found. As Antonio's line "Let me have judgement and the Jew his will"(MV4.1.84) allows identification of both Antonio and Shylock with Doctor Faustus, it is plain that Shylock and Antonio are to be regarded as co-villains in this most unusual romantic comedy.

  3. #363
    stanley2
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    For the Everyman edition, John Andrews glosses Antonio's "Let him alone" speech(Act 3, scene 3) in part as follows: "the merchant conveniently omits mention of the abuse he has heaped on Shylock, with no apologies and with no indication that his attitude and behavior might ever change."

  4. #364
    stanley2
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    Another quote from Bevington's introduction, if I may: "Bassanio's adventure is partly commercial. Yet his pilgrimage for Portia is magnanimous as well. The occasional modern practice of playing Bassanio and Portia as cynical antiheroes of a 'black' comedy points up the problematic character of their materialism and calculation, but it inevitably distorts the play." Some scholars have noted that Shakespeare himself may have played the role of Antonio onstage. It is then no stretch at all to link the character to Sonnet 144.

  5. #365
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    IMO the text of Shakespeare paints Portia and Bassanio as a romantic pair, even if there are riches involved. This is a mercantile play that anticipates the duplicity of the 19 C English novel, where the hero had to prove the purity of his/her love to be then rewarded with riches and the consequent social ascent.

    But Bassanio's journey also has something of the quest of the medieval knight. To win Portia he has to pass a test.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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