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

Voters
8. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    2 25.00%
  • No

    6 75.00%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Page 29 of 31 FirstFirst ... 192425262728293031 LastLast
Results 421 to 435 of 458

Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #421
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    You yourself wrote in post #192 that "when you take these sentences out of their original context, they can be read in several ways." Professor Tiffany also wrote: "TWELFTH NIGHT'S Antonio-Sebastian pairing is curiously revived in THE TEMPEST, although THE TEMPEST'S Antonio and Sebastian share a political(and criminal) rather than an amorous tie." In the list of characters for THE TEMPEST and AS YOU LIKE IT, we find an "usurping brother" in both. Antonio in the former and Frederick in the latter. Therefore the author invites the reader to compare Antonio in MV to Antonio in THE TEMPEST. She also wrote that "'Antonio' is variously allusive, invoking both the reputations of genuine historical figures (including the saint), and the associations which would eventually accrue to the Antonio's scripted later by Shakespeare--- not only the Antonio of TWELFTH NIGHT, but the Antonio of THE TEMPEST, and ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA as well." I myself am not too worried about Jessica, who like Lancelet, is young. Bassanio says: "So may the outward shows be least themselves, / The world is still deceived with ornament"(MV3.2.75-6). Shylock's aside begins: "How like a fawning publican he looks!"(MV1.3.36). Antonio's first line, "In sooth I know not why I am so sad"(MV1.1.1), plainly is also allusive. The words "sad" and "sadness" also are found in Act one, scene 1 of ROMEO AND JULIET.

  2. #422
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    "I am trying to remain within the play"(post #420). One thought regarding this is suggested by reading a fine essay by Professor Linda Bamber included in the Signet Classic KING LEAR. That is, you are in a sense preparing to play the part of Portia onstage. Professor Bevington was imagining himself playing the role of Antonio(see post#391). I don't have this propensity as I can only imagine myself playing the part of the Second Clown in HAMLET("But is this law?" HAM5.1.20). This is reasonable as Portia has by far the most lines to speak.

  3. #423
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    And speaking of Lancelot, one might compare his father and Shylock. "Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop"(MV2.2.58-9). In the court scene, Shylock says: "You take my house, when you take the prop / That doth sustain my house"(MV4.1.371-2). "Her name is Margery, indeed. I'll be sworn, if thou be Lancelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood," says Old Gobbo. In Act three, scene 1 we have Shylock's "My own flesh and blood to rebel!"(MV3.1.29) and "I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor"(MV3.1.101).

  4. #424
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    In Professor Parrott's intro to TWELFTH NIGHT we find: "the third in time of Shakespeare's glorious triad of romantic comedies is in some ways the most delightful, in many ways the most perfectly finished. It lacks to be sure, the greenwood atmosphere of AS YOU LIKE IT; it has no such rapier thrusts of repartee as we find in the wit-combats of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING." The guy could not help himself; he was always comparing one play to another and here recalls even R&J. The "amorous tie"(see #421) between Antonio and Sebastian contrasts with Benedick, who would rather "fetch a toothpicker now from the furthest inch of Asia"(I don't have it in front of me) than marry Beatrice. Lokasenna's comment that the quandry is to decide if Shylock is more sinned against than sinning is, as we've seen, a two hundred year old question. Therefore, Antonio and Shylock are co-comic villains. In the intro to MV by Professor Bate we find the first page and a half are comments regarding the title of the play. No character but Antonio is explicitly identified as a merchant, yet Bate notes that "The part almost seems to be deliberately underwritten." And yet "to remain within the play" it is important to note such lines as "Mark you this, Bassanio, / The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose"(MV1.3.96-7).

  5. #425
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    Therefore, Portia's line, "Tarry a little, there is something else," is crucial to understanding the play. As we have seen, some people, at first, feel that the play either favors Antonio or Shylock. It is clear that the text favors neither. When we search the play we always find "something else." When Shylock says "How like a fawning publican he looks! / I hate him for he is a Christian," we find in the same speech "He hates our sacred nation."

  6. #426
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    It is then notable to quote Antonio in Act 3, scene 3: "He seeks my life, his reason well I know; / I oft delivered from his forfeitures / Many that have at times made moan to me: / Therefore he hates me"(MV3.3.23-4). All this will bring one back to MND: "What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.............What, can you do me greater harm than hate?............'Tis no jest / That I do hate thee, and love Helena"(MND3.2.269-81).

  7. #427
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    10,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    The theme of hatred is so up to date!
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  8. #428
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    In another fine article about the play onstage, writer and instructor John O' Conner wrote: "Many Shylocks, even those presented as having a real and understandable grievance, have nonetheless forfeited audience sympathy when they approach the merchant with intent to take their pound of flesh." He goes on to note that Paul Butler, playing Shylock in the 1994 Goodman Theatre production, did not approach Antonio and thereby helped make the character dignified. We noted recently that in the last scene Portia says to Antonio: "you are welcome notwithstanding"(MV5.1.239). In Act One, scene 3, we find Shylock saying to Bassanio: "The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient"(MV1.3.25). One might suggest that this echo helps dignify both Antonio and Shylock.

  9. #429
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    Back in post #280 we noted that Orlando's brother says, "I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he"(AS YOU LIKE IT1.1.155-6), and that it echoes the first line of MV. We have also noted that in Shylock's "How like a fawning publican" speech(MV1.3) we find an echo of Romeo's "Here's much to to with hate, but more with love." The speech from Orlando's brother then, also echoes not only Shylock's speech in Act one, scene 3 but his presentation of his case before the court. Therefore, Shakespeare was either aware that the "publican" speech is troublesome or he was told that it is. AS YOU LIKE IT, then, is plainly linked to MV.

  10. #430
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    10,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    However the context of the plays is very different.
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  11. #431
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    Let's return to the larger context of the play. In another discussion we found Queen Elizabeth I may have been reluctant to marry because her father, Henry VIII, permitted the execution of Elizabeth's mother. The major speech in MV, "The Quality of mercy.......," may then have been quite effective onstage in 1597. In A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, the fantasy of a Queen as one's lover was one that may have had special resonance in 1595.
    Last edited by stanley2; 07-26-2023 at 11:46 AM. Reason: typo

  12. #432
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    Hawkman's notes regarding the historic context of the play (#32 and others) are interesting. We then might consider Bevington's opinion(see#391) again. Shylock seems to be required to attend Roman Catholic church services with Antonio. According to Hawkman, everyone was required to attend Church of England services in Shakespeare's time. Shylock would then be failing to follow instructions in place in Shakespeare's England. The fact that it is implied that Antonio and Shylock will(pun intended) be attending the same church leads one to then suggest again that Shylock and Antonio are co-comic villains.

  13. #433
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    The lines from MND(#426) are spoken by the characters Lysander and Hermia. Lysander's feelings have been affected by the fairy Robin Goodfellow. Was it Shakespeare's intention that one might wonder if Mr. Goodfellow is causing mischief again here in MV?

  14. #434
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    Let's return to the 2009 book by Professor Bate: "In 1598 Francis Meres, Cambridge educated and with his finger on the literary pulse of the age, wrote that the 'mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare' was circulating 'his sugared sonnets among his private friends.' He also included Shakespeare in a list of poets who were 'the most passionate among us to bewail and bemoan the perplexities of love.' For educated Elizabethans, sonnets were the place where you went for an immersion in the doubts, intricacies, uncertainties, troubles, and 'anguish of mind' associated with love. For Meres, Shakespeare was not an isolated genius but one among many." Holy cow! If Tybalt was the Nurse's best friend, Mary Sidney may have been Shakespeare's.

  15. #435
    stanley2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    279
    And regarding the matter of THE GOSPEL OF JOHN that Professor Bloom noted, in Professor Drakakis' list of citations we find Caroline Spurgeon's 1935 book SHAKESPEARE"S IMAGERY AND WHAT IT TELLS US. She noted dark and light imagery in R&J. We have noted(see latter half of 1/28/2014 thread here) that these images tell us that the line "'Tis all one" in the first conversation in R&J is at once an allusion to GENESIS 1:27 and DEUTERONOMY 6:4. Therefore, as Isaac Asimov suggested, to Shakespeare, context is important when studying THE BIBLE. Thus it is that Antonio's "Mark you this, Bassanio, / The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose"(MV1.3.93-4) plainly points to the gospel.

Similar Threads

  1. Help! What is the best theme to write about Merchant of Venice
    By sparrgrovek in forum Merchant of Venice
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-04-2011, 10:57 PM
  2. SE Merchant of Venice
    By fleurinemenijn in forum Merchant of Venice
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-28-2009, 10:21 AM
  3. Some questions for 'The merchant of Venice'
    By icon in forum Merchant of Venice
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-06-2007, 04:00 PM
  4. Candles and Light in the Merchant of Venice
    By kre8ivkath in forum Merchant of Venice
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-25-2006, 12:52 PM
  5. merchant of venice
    By jack mc jackerton in forum Merchant of Venice
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-24-2005, 06:07 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •