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

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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #271
    stanley2
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    And there is a character named Antonio in TWELFTH NIGHT. It then is a straight forward matter to "read back literally"(see#269 above) and identify the Antonio in MV with Sonnet 144.

  2. #272
    stanley2
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    The aside from Shylock in Act 1, scene 3 is often noted as problematic. If one notes the original context of the play, that is, it follows ROMEO AND JULIET, Shylock's "I hate him for he is a Christian," recalls Tybalt's "What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word / As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. / Have at thee, coward!"(ROM1.1.68-70). Little wonder, then, that scholars use such phrases as "endlessly ironic" and "undoubted ironies" to introduce MV.

  3. #273
    stanley2
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    And Shylock's "But more"(MV1.3.40) recalls Romeo's "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love"(ROM1.1.174). Therefore, one might regard Orsino's speech that begins TWELFTH NIGHT as Shakespeare suggesting that one have music playing in the backround when reading this play and the criticism.

  4. #274
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    "Stanley2- The aside from Shylock in Act 1, scene 3 is often noted as problematic. If one notes the original context of the play, that is, it follows ROMEO AND JULIET, Shylock's "I hate him for he is a Christian," recalls Tybalt's "What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word / As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. / Have at thee, coward!"(ROM1.1.68-70). Little wonder, then, that scholars use such phrases as "endlessly ironic" and "undoubted ironies" to introduce MV. "
    Well, maybe one can say that both cases show prejudice. But in both cases there is much more involved.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  5. #275
    stanley2
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    Indeed, and the first lines in R&J read: "Two households, both alike in dignity, / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene / From ancient grudge break to new mutiny"(ROM1.1). Shylock's "I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him"(MV1.3.44), then, may be another example of "new mutiny." Professor Bevington wrote that Shylock "approvingly cites Jacob's ruse to deprive Laban of his sheep(1.3.69-88)." Professor Kermode is not so sure: "Was Jacob cheating when he made sure by a trick that the lambs would be parti-colored, and so due to him?" One then might recall Nick Bottom's speech that begins: "When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer"(MND4.1.199-216), where Bevington notes: "Bottom garbles the terms of 1 Corinthians 2:9." Bevington also suggested that "However much we may come to sympathize.......Shylock remains essentially the villain of a love comedy." The other day, a movie version of RICHARD 3 was shown on TV. The first lines there are spoken by Richard, played by Ian McKellen. One might borrow from Lancelot(MV2.2) and say that Richard "is the devil himself." Therefore , as Antonio speaks the first lines in MV, the audience is invited to consider Antonio and Shylock as co-comic villains.

  6. #276
    stanley2
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    Professor Bevington's introduction attests to the wide range of subject matter in the play. When we encounter the terms "romantic comedy," we should study what they mean. What is essential, though, is a matter of discussion. Shylock, as we have seen, is associated with characters in other works. Egeus in MND, Romeo in R&J and even Nick Bottom and Ms. Juliet Capulet, each is plainly associated with Shylock. And Antonio? Dick 3(if I may borrow from P.B.) and as Professor Bate noted, Prospero's usurping brother in THE TEMPEST. Further review is required to note that Antonio too is associated with Romeo and THE SONNETS.

  7. #277
    stanley2
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    The "melancholy Jaques"(AS YOU LIKE IT2.1.26), echoes Antonio's "I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano, / A stage where everyman must play a part, / And mine a sad one"(MV1.1.77): "All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players....."(AYL2.7.140). One might quote a comment from Duke Senior from his first conversation with Jaques: "Most mischievous foul sin in chiding sin. / For thou thyself hast been a libertine, / As sensual as the brutish sting itself, / And all th' embossed sores and headed evils / That thou with licence of free foot hast caught / Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world"(AYL2.7.64-9). And yet Duke Senior had expressed his desire to speak with him: "Show me the place. / I love to cope him in these sullen fits, / For then he's full of matter"(AYL2.1.67).

  8. #278
    stanley2
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    Bevington's introduction to A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is interesting. As we have seen, Shylock's reply to Portia's "The quality of mercy" speech echoes a line from Egeus: I beg the law, the law, upon his head"(MND4.1.154). "Egeus is as heavy a villain as we are likely to find in this jeu d'esprit," says the Professor. Shylock, like Egeus, brings his problems to the local Duke. In MV, the Duke enlists the aid of Portia's cousin, who in turn, it seems, is already at work with Portia on the matter. Hawkman(post #50) notes the "most memorable lines" in the play. One might then add to the list Portia's "Tarry a little; there is something else"(MV4.1.303). Any discussion of this play seems to bring that line to mind.

  9. #279
    stanley2
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    Antonio's "The weakest kind of fruit / Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me"(MV4.1.115-16) echoes Mercutio: "Now will he sit under a medlar tree / And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit / As maids call medlars when they laugh alone"(ROM2.1.34-36). It is interesting that Bevington and Bate prefer "did" to "do" in Lancelet's s line "If a Christian did not play the knave and get thee, I am much deceived"(MV2.3.11), Though both Q1 and F1 read "doe." Therefore, Jessica may be Antonio's biological daughter. We recall Sonnet 129: "All this the world well knows, yet none knows well / to shun the heaven that leads men to this hell."

  10. #280
    stanley2
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    The first scene in AS YOU LIKE IT ends with a speech from Oliver, Orlando's brother, where we find: "I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he"(AYL1.1.155-6). This plainly echoes the first line in MV: "In sooth I know not why I am so sad." Historian Michael Wood suggested that there are too many unanswered questions left at the end of the play. Rather, one may choose to be a fan of Team Antonio, Team Shylock or Team Portia. Still, Antonio and Shylock are co-comic villains, or as Professor J. Dover Wilson suggested, Shakespeare's sympathy is no less for Shylock than the spitting Antonio.

  11. #281
    stanley2
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    "Mark you this, Bassanio, / The devil can site Scripture for his purpose"(MV1.3.96-7), says Antonio. Lancelet begins Act 3, scene 5: "Yes truly, for look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children"(MV3.5.1). Isaac Asimov noted that the Biblical passage the clownish fool refers to is amended in another passage. Therefore, we might suggest that here, the scene right before the court scene, is an example of what Antonio means. Lorenzo enters the scene and says: "I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Lancelet, if you thus get my wife into corners"(MV3.5.24). Therefore, in the court scene it is reasonable to suggest that we find yet another example of "triangular structure of relationships," as Professor Bate put it; Shylock, Antonio and Leah.

  12. #282
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    You know I don´t agree here. Leah is dead before the play starts.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  13. #283
    stanley2
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    This recalls a line from HAMLET: "For this relief much thanks"(HAM1.1.5). The ghost of Hamlet's father has appeared on the platform. And Professor Leggatt wrote, for the Folger edition, that opposed readings are "allowed" by the text. That is, Shakespeare wrote the play so as to suggest various possibilities. The line from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT's DREAM, "This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad"(MND5.1.286) plainly indicates that the most likely cause of Antonio's sadness is either the death of Leah or the loss of Portia's father.

  14. #284
    stanley2
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    Then again, according to Bate, Portia has 22% of the lines in the play and Shylock and Bassanio each has 13%. So, Antonio's sadness may be(as we noted in post #218) due to his losing Portia to Bassanio. This is much like Romeo in the first scene of R&J and of course Morocco and Aragon. His lines, "And when the tale is told, bid her be judge / whether Bassanio had not once a love"(MV4.1.284-5), are ironic as Portia is doing just that.

  15. #285
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    But what of these lines would confirm Antonio´s love of Portia?
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