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

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Thread: Is The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic?

  1. #31
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    I've not got the drive to enter into such a discussion at the moment (so, OK, maybe I shouldn't respond at all) but I have to say I am getting a little fed up with all the anti-Semitic, feminist, gay and lesbian, racial, ageist - prejudice slant/open up the topic for discussion sort of question, as is the flavour of age. I'm not knocking the OP, this particular discussion (which could very well be interesting) at all, it's just a personal rant and objection to this overwhelming, it seems, obsession, for treating art as solely a means to constantly pose such 'ethical' questions. Heaven forbid a university sets a question - XYZ, is it any good?

    I voted 'no' because I'm sick of art being lifted from its context and placed before a panel of 'X-factor judges' as to whether it makes the grade or gets dumped on the ever growing pile of banned and 'dangerous' books.

    Edit: I just want to keep asking 'by whose standards?' By whose standards is XYZ, XYZ, by ours or theirs and so what either way? So what? Is Shakespeare pro murder because of Hamlet? Why the constant obsession?
    Of course, all of that ranting is really just presenting a false dichotomy. You seem to be suggesting that you can either:

    a) believe Shakespeare's play is anti-Semitic and it should be considered a dangerous book and banned.

    or

    b) think it is great work of art with wonderful aesthetic merit.

    But are those the only two choices? Why can't someone hold the view that The Merchant of Venice is a very good play with much aesthetic merit and plenty of memorable characters, but one containing an extremely problematic and anti-Semitic depiction of one of its characters. I haven't seen anyone in this thread suggest we should ban the play.
    Last edited by Drkshadow03; 04-13-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceMyshkin View Post
    I don't know anything of Hawkman's ethnicity or religious affiliaton (if he has one) but as a Jew myself, I'm heartened
    1) because if he is not a Jew, I am always deeply grateful when anon-Jew speaks dispassionately about Jews; and
    2) if he is a Jew, it is nonetheless thrilling to read such a scholarly, even-handed evaluation of this question.

    But surely a strong hint as to where Shakespeare stood on this issue is in

    I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
    organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
    food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
    heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
    and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
    you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
    And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
    rest, we will resemble you in that
    Thanks for that, Prince. I appreciate your taking the time to read and add to my little essay. I would have to agree that this particular speech of Shylock’s would certainly indicate where Shakespeare’s sympathies might have lain. It is highly eloquent in bemoaning the divisions wrought between people by prejudice.

    I have always seen Shakespeare as essentially a humanist. His characters are acutely observed and very real, even when exaggerated. The Bard himself would have been no stranger to persecution. One must remember that he was growing up during the reformation, when the see-saw switches between the old Catholicism and the new Protestantism were in full swing, with Edward, Mary and then Elizabeth successively altering the religious landscape of England. Shakespeare’s own father would undoubtedly have been a covert Catholic and so it requires little imagination to picture the Swan of Avon as being one too. In a country which was actively persecuting Catholics, and where Catholic priests toured the country secretly, in disguise, hiding in priest’s holes for fear of discovery, it is not unfeasible that sympathy for a similarly persecuted religious group, whatever their ethnicity, might have held a particular resonance for him.

    By the time of James 1st , Catholic conspiracy against the protestant throne was a very real threat and in 1605 there was the Gunpowder plot.

    I’m not sure how familiar our readership might be with the Shakespeare connection to this major historical event, but there is more than a suggestion of his involvement at some level, in that he knew some of the conspirators and frequented their haunts. The writing of Macbeth, was, in no small part, an effort to distance himself from them after the event and prove his loyalty. For more information see:

    http://www.shakespeare-online.com/bi...owderplot.html

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    Last edited by Hawkman; 04-13-2012 at 08:15 PM.

  3. #33
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    The Bard himself would have been no stranger to persecution...Shakespeare’s own father would undoubtedly have been a covert Catholic and so it requires little imagination to picture the Swan of Avon as being one too. In a country which was actively persecuting Catholics, and where Catholic priests toured the country secretly, in disguise, hiding in priest’s holes for fear of discovery, it is not unfeasible that sympathy for a similarly persecuted religious group, whatever their ethnicity, might have held a particular resonance for him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    One is minded to compare the nature and Character of Alf Garnet, a racist bigot in a comedy show, with the way Shylock is presented in the play. The Show was initially accused of being racist and bigoted, because of the ranting of its caricatured eponymous antihero, when it was, in fact, mocking racism and bigotry. Can the same not be said of The Merchant of Venice? Is the caricature of the Jewish moneylender not a vehicle which highlights attitudes towards Jews by supposedly good Christians, who spit upon them in public, revile them and expect them to mildly accept this treatment and then do them favours?
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  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Drkshadow03 View Post
    Of course, all of that ranting is really just presenting a false dichotomy. You seem to be suggesting that you can either:

    a) believe Shakespeare's play is anti-Semitic and it should be considered a dangerous book and banned.

    or

    b) think it is great work of art with wonderful aesthetic merit.

    But are those the only two choices? Why can't someone hold the view that The Merchant of Venice is a very good play with much aesthetic merit and plenty of memorable characters, but one containing an extremely problematic and anti-Semitic depiction of one of its characters. I haven't seen anyone in this thread suggest we should ban the play.
    I'm not suggesting either or none or all of those things. I'm merely raising the question of the question and frankly quite fed up of modern 'ethical' debates of this sort, where 'issues' are raised and the work is entirely secondary - in fact often unimportant.

    Problematic? Problematic for who? For what purpose? So what.

    At the height of the brief fashion of aestheticism Wilde would argue aesthetics above intellectualism declaring that all pictures that make you say 'how interesting' as opposed to 'how beautiful' are bad pictures. We have gone beyond such narrow perspectives today of course, today art must make us think about who this 'offends', which minority figure is 'under-represented' and debate the whole (non) issue constantly. Such progress.

    In fact surely it is much better just to bypass the whole debate anyway and throw bad books like this one onto the rejected offenders pile next to the likes of Conrad, Steinbeck and Dante?

  5. #35
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    The debate has inspired me enough to start reading The Merchant of Venice...
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  6. #36
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    I'm not suggesting either or none or all of those things. I'm merely raising the question of the question and frankly quite fed up of modern 'ethical' debates of this sort, where 'issues' are raised and the work is entirely secondary - in fact often unimportant.

    Problematic? Problematic for who? For what purpose? So what.

    At the height of the brief fashion of aestheticism Wilde would argue aesthetics above intellectualism declaring that all pictures that make you say 'how interesting' as opposed to 'how beautiful' are bad pictures. We have gone beyond such narrow perspectives today of course, today art must make us think about who this 'offends', which minority figure is 'under-represented' and debate the whole (non) issue constantly. Such progress.

    In fact surely it is much better just to bypass the whole debate anyway and throw bad books like this one onto the rejected offenders pile next to the likes of Conrad, Steinbeck and Dante?
    You know, for someone sick of these type of arguments you sure spend a lot of time participating in them. I am failing to see how Shylock's portrayal, a main character, isn't integral to understanding the play. On the one side, we have a few people arguing that the play isn't anti-Semitic, but rather the central themes of the play are anti-religious bigotry, which by definition would make Shylock's portrayal central to the play's theme and therefore an integral part of the play. On the other side, you have people arguing it is anti-Semitic, which would of course change the play's themes (for example I suggested the play can be read as a kind of allegory for the nature of Christianity versus the nature of Judaism), our historical understanding of how the original audience viewed the play, and the archetypal/stereotypical figures Shylock is based upon, which ultimately is an aesthetic consideration. All of that seems pretty integral to the play rather than secondary.

    Now if the only thing you want out of literature and art is to finish the last page and sigh, "Ah, how beautiful" that is your business. But I find that a rather superficial and shallow way to approach art. As I already suggested there is nothing stopping anyone from appreciating art both aesthetically and intellectually.
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  7. #37
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    That was not what Neely was getting at, though.

    The whole thing about branding anything 'feminist', 'anti-semitic', 'lesbian' and the like is useless if it does not contribute to an overall view.

    If The Mechant of Venice was read with a view to know more about attitudes towards Jews in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance or through history, why not, then that stamp of 'anti-semitism' would actually be of some use. As it is, we are here branding TMoV anti-semitic and after that? Everyone knows what people did to Jews back then (not in England, but there you go, there were none there), so it is not surpising that Shylock is portrayed like that. Frankly the muslim in the play is also stereotypical and the conceited Spanish prince as well. As are the Venician guys because they are spending money they don't have. Cue their total destruction in the 18th century. The process was already beginning in Shakespeare's days. It would become a whole with at some point 20% of the population infected with syphilis. Gambling was rife and women sold their bodies outside casinos to be able to gamble. In two generations it would go from on top of the world to a backwater where everyone was poor and tuberculosis ruled.

    At a basic level, everyting is stereotypical, so yes the Jew as well. Had he been a black man, a muslim, a Chinaman, or whatever else there is to find, it would have been stereotypical.

    So, why are we discussing whether or not this play is antisemitic? What purpose does it have? It is definitely anti-semitic and racist according to what we believe, but is what we believe as modern readers relevant? What is the purpose of calling it anti-semitic? Is it to put it away to be forgotten? No. Or is it to once more point out how fantastic these modern times are? Maybe no.

    In short it has no purpose, because nothing will be done with it. So, indeed, as Neely says, why not stop discussing that stuff and move on to more interesting things?
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  8. #38
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    That was not what Neely was getting at, though.

    The whole thing about branding anything 'feminist', 'anti-semitic', 'lesbian' and the like is useless if it does not contribute to an overall view.

    If The Mechant of Venice was read with a view to know more about attitudes towards Jews in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance or through history, why not, then that stamp of 'anti-semitism' would actually be of some use. As it is, we are here branding TMoV anti-semitic and after that? Everyone knows what people did to Jews back then (not in England, but there you go, there were none there), so it is not surpising that Shylock is portrayed like that. Frankly the muslim in the play is also stereotypical and the conceited Spanish prince as well. As are the Venician guys because they are spending money they don't have. Cue their total destruction in the 18th century. The process was already beginning in Shakespeare's days. It would become a whole with at some point 20% of the population infected with syphilis. Gambling was rife and women sold their bodies outside casinos to be able to gamble. In two generations it would go from on top of the world to a backwater where everyone was poor and tuberculosis ruled.

    At a basic level, everyting is stereotypical, so yes the Jew as well. Had he been a black man, a muslim, a Chinaman, or whatever else there is to find, it would have been stereotypical.

    So, why are we discussing whether or not this play is antisemitic? What purpose does it have? It is definitely anti-semitic and racist according to what we believe, but is what we believe as modern readers relevant? What is the purpose of calling it anti-semitic? Is it to put it away to be forgotten? No. Or is it to once more point out how fantastic these modern times are? Maybe no.

    In short it has no purpose, because nothing will be done with it. So, indeed, as Neely says, why not stop discussing that stuff and move on to more interesting things?
    Since the argument is that the main themes of the play centrally rely on the portrayal of Shylock it very much does have to do with discussing the actual play. Nothing you just said rebutted that point. So discussing whether it is anti-Semitic or not does in fact contribute to an overall view in this case; it's talking about an issue that is central to the play. That is why we're discussing it. Also, because that is what the original poster asked.

    Other reasons why such discussions are important. Since the readers of The Merchant of Venice aren't just seasoned readers chalk full of historical knowledge, but also freshman and sophomores in college, this may be the first time students are encountering the play, discussing some of the problematic issues with students who might not have a very good grounding in history seems particularly relevant. They might not know common anti-Semitic tropes or the medieval attitudes towards Jews, half of them might not have ever met an actual Jew, if they're reading Marlowe it would also be helpful to place Shylock in context with other literary Jewish figures (as Lok noted in his earlier post). So no NOT everyone knows what people did to Jews back then. You're taking the background knowledge of all readers for granted.

    I would agree with Neely, however, that there are works in which such discussions aren't central and discussing the absence of female characters from a feminist perspective might be secondary. My argument is this isn't one of those works. More importantly, even in the case where it is secondary there is room for such discussions in literature.
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  9. #39
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    So, why are we discussing whether or not this play is antisemitic? What purpose does it have?
    Well, it's just some kid's topic in his literature class, isn't it? It's a common (boring) discussion, I've had dozens. "Is Heart of Darkness racist?" "does Dashiell Hammett portray women in a misogynistic way?" "is the fact that Lucy dies in Dracula but Mina lives pushing Christian standards of female behavior?" &c &c &c. So to answer to your question, I guess that's why we're discussing it.

    I wouldn't say it's a worthless discussion, it's not like it's everyone is going to say "that's it, tMoV is antisemetic and that's all there is to say about it!" The question of whether Shakespeare's portrayal of Shylock is antisemetic is bound to spark a discussion on whether attributing characters with stereotypical traits actually is racist (usually the consensus is "yes"), whether or not that takes away from the work and the author (usually the consensus is "no"), and it'll also lead to a discussion on the changing state of social norms in terms of political correctness (usually the consensus is "derp! We're more politically correct now!"). That's just how classes operate, there wouldn't be much of a discussion if everyone was all "sigh, how beautiful!" Racism/sexism/blah isn't ALL they talk about, or even most of it ("is Heart of Darkness a journey into the human mind?" "How does Hammett's hard-boiled detective type compare to Arthur Connan Doyle's soft boiled detective type?" "Is Helsing's approach to science legitimate?"), but it's part of it, not to mention it's unavoidable - completely ignoring Shylock's portrayal would obviously be stepping around the elephant in the room.
    Last edited by JuniperWoolf; 04-14-2012 at 09:13 AM.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    It is definitely anti-semitic and racist according to what we believe, but is what we believe as modern readers relevant?
    I think what we believe today is what is relevant to this issue since we are the ones reading or watching the play and we are the ones who can continue antisemitism or not. Calling the play antisemitic is just one way of saying that such behavior is not acceptable today no matter how famous the writer of this play is.

    I also don't think antisemitism is dead or something that ended in the last century. I hear it in the community I live in where a teenager can tease a Jewish teenage of being a "baby Jesus killer". The Jews did not kill Jesus. The Romans did. Until that reality sinks in the issue of antisemitism is with us still.

  11. #41
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Of course it is not dead.

    However, what is important is what the writer of a play or an artist wishes to explain to you, what his point is. In this case it is definitely not that 'Jews are nasty Jesus-killers', 'Jews poison wells' and 'Jews are nasty greedy money-grabbers'. If he had wanted to discuss that (which was hardly worth discussing at that point in time anyway, Jews were greedy b*st*rds who ate children and that was a well-established fact), he would have made a tragedy about a Jew and his demise like King Lear. In this case he has a Jew figure in the play a few times and that is it.

    What we feel as contemporary readers towards issues like that, I would argue is pretty pointless as we are forgetting what point the author was trying to make rather than looking for it. The most important thing is the former, because that's where the work sprang from. Altough we could agree to differ on that.

    In branding it anti-semitic, you highlight that fact and all the uncomfortable details fade into the background, because after all you know it is anti-semitic. You know that Shakespeare was a Jew-hater and therefore, whatever he puts into Shylock's mouth is going to be biased, just like Shylock's words were biased to the public a few centuries ago. You take away the irony. Shylock becomes a tragic character rather than a clown which he was supposed to be.

    Maybe the more probing ear amongst the original audience could have discerned that in portaying Shylock as a human comedy character begging for compassion, what the audience was laughing at was its own character: you blame this person for making money from lending money, but who borrows it? You, you greedy moron. And as you are laughing at a man, just like yourself, you are laughing at yourself.

    The greed that runs through the play, then, is not limited to Shylcok (the epitomy of greed, after all), but is a thing of man: Antonio has the problem, and Bassanio, and the Morrocan prince and the prince of Arragon. Only the women seem to faintly know what is the real deal. The men, they are just playing in their sand pit.
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  12. #42
    ...So no NOT everyone knows what people did to Jews back then. You're taking the background knowledge of all readers for granted.
    So maybe time would be better spent in learning historical details as opposed to applying 21st century morality to a 16th century work? Or even, daringly, to consider the quality of the writing.

    What I am aiming for is to question the point of the question, but if that's not relevant to this thread (?) then I'll start another one. I am also not saying that we should return to 1880s aesthetics at all. Instead, I am saying we should push aside all of this modern ethical baggage. Well really, I'm just saying I'm sick of all this modern ethical baggage, what other people think is up to them.

    It is true that my comments could have easily have been attached onto one of the many many 'is Conrad a racist?' type threads, or other such 'spot the sexism/feminism/homophobia attitude' threads found everywhere, so my points are in no way limited or much directed to this question - in fact I have little interest in it. Therefore, I will take my rant to a new thread. Also for the purpose of not spoiling this kids homework presentation which is now done for him anyway, especially as I just recently noticed duel thread in another section.

  13. #43
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf View Post
    it's part of it, not to mention it's unavoidable - completely ignoring Shylock's portrayal would obviously be stepping around the elephant in the room.
    Of course. Not mentioning it woud be a bit odd, but focussing on that alone (and you do have to contend that much of it revolves around it) is a bit narrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drkshadow03 View Post
    Since the argument is that the main themes of the play centrally rely on the portrayal of Shylock it very much does have to do with discussing the actual play. Nothing you just said rebutted that point. So discussing whether it is anti-Semitic or not does in fact contribute to an overall view in this case; it's talking about an issue that is central to the play. That is why we're discussing it. Also, because that is what the original poster asked.

    Other reasons why such discussions are important. Since the readers of The Merchant of Venice aren't just seasoned readers chalk full of historical knowledge, but also freshman and sophomores in college, this may be the first time students are encountering the play, discussing some of the problematic issues with students who might not have a very good grounding in history seems particularly relevant. They might not know common anti-Semitic tropes or the medieval attitudes towards Jews, half of them might not have ever met an actual Jew, if they're reading Marlowe it would also be helpful to place Shylock in context with other literary Jewish figures (as Lok noted in his earlier post). So no NOT everyone knows what people did to Jews back then. You're taking the background knowledge of all readers for granted.

    I would agree with Neely, however, that there are works in which such discussions aren't central and discussing the absence of female characters from a feminist perspective might be secondary. My argument is this isn't one of those works. More importantly, even in the case where it is secondary there is room for such discussions in literature.
    Ok, maybe you are dealing with some pretty naïve people in reading respect, then still, should you say, 'Ooh, be careful, this play is racist/anti-semitic'? You could mention the fact that Jews were seen in a particularly bad light because people thought everything they thought about them (I am not going to repeat the list), but branding it a label essentially takes away the comedy element of it.
    Shylock is not a tragic character, despite his speech there about being human. If you interpret that in any way but ironic and deliver it in a pining kind of way, it becomes a tragedy. The hated person inevitably becomes the victim, particularly to us now in terms of racism and certainly anti-semitism, and the whole play is misconstrued as a result.

    I agree it is dificult and uncomfortable to view it that way (if not well-nigh impossible), but branding it anti-semitic is not going to help matters.

    So, no, to me at least, it is not essential to brand the play anti-semitic. It is helpful to discuss how Jews were perceived.

    If you do admit you may be dealing with people who do not understand, then I doubt that saying anything is racist or anti-semitic will change any of their naïvety. If anything they will possible consider that Shakespeare was a vile racist...

    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    So maybe time would be better spent in learning historical details as opposed to applying 21st century morality to a 16th century work?
    Hear, hear.

    I doubt that if the OP came up in his presentation with that question he would be allowed to reach a conclusion that says 'no, because it did not exist back then.'

    I thought this thread was a double thread because JC slightly highjacked it. I may be wrong though...
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  14. #44
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    So maybe time would be better spent in learning historical details as opposed to applying 21st century morality to a 16th century work? Or even, daringly, to consider the quality of the writing.
    None of which are mutually exclusive. Talking about the 16th century attitudes will inevitably bring about discussion of our own moral views. I haven't heard one person on this thread claim we should condemn the work, but rather this is an integral part of understanding it and appreciating it on its own terms. Not to mention if we are unwilling to discuss ethical issues or apply our own ethical understandings to the past ever, we end up with the extreme moral relativism of Kiki.

    When we covered this play in my undergrad class back in the day amazingly the professor spent the 4 classes (2 weeks) and managed to cover the Shylock anti-Semitism issue and his own feelings on it, the scholarly debate around that issue, the historical context, the other plots of the play, the symbolism of various scenes, went in-depth on specific metaphors and helped us view the marvelous quality of Shakespeare's language (i. e. the quality of the writing).
    Last edited by Drkshadow03; 04-14-2012 at 10:52 AM.
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  15. #45
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    Of course. Not mentioning it woud be a bit odd, but focussing on that alone (and you do have to contend that much of it revolves around it) is a bit narrow.
    I do contend this. I'm starting to wish I posted my initial response on this thread and not the hijacked one...

    Shylock appears in 5 scenes out of...one sec.....20 scenes. I initially said 4, but forgot about Act II, scene v. Anyway, a quarter of the play. He is the focus of maybe 1 1/2 scenes he is not in. The central focus, in Il Pecorone and in Merchant of Venice, is Bassanio's quest for Portia. The caskets, the ring trick, these classic elements of a COMEDY - this is the central focus.

    We do have to bring Shylock into it, and see how he fits into the story - just as Shakespeare brings Shylock further into the original source (where the Jew is such a minor character he doesn't have a name)....but to make him the pivotal issue of the play is distorting it a bit too much for my liking.

    If anyone is interested, here was my initial reaction to the initial question:


    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    It is a difficult question indeed and one without an obvious angle, because it depends on what angle you take.

    Keep in mind that when Merchant was first staged in the mid-1590s, Jews had been expelled from England for over 3 centuries. No one in England would have met a Jew, or known what a Jew looked like. This was the same time that the Church portrayed Jews as devils (with actual horns), so believe that a Jew had horns and a tail, and fangs, was not terribly uncommon.

    Also bear in mind other notable portrayals of Jews in theatre around the same time: the most famous is Barabbas from Marlowe's Jew of Malta. Now Barabbas was both a villain and a clown who freely admitted to such acts as poisoning wells. There was no way to look at Barabbas sympathetically - he was evil.

    Shylock transcends Barabbas as a character, but as I have argued before, he is not sympathetic, really. People have twisted his speech in III.i to make him sound sympathetic, but this is really itself a twisted sense of morals. But what Shakespeare does in Merchant of Venice is give us a Jew (Shylock) seen through the eyes of the Christian heroes.

    The scene where Solanio is telling the story of Shylock running around screaming "my daughter, my duckets!" is a perfect example of this: we do not see Shylock doing this, only a report of it. We actually see Shylock doing very little except clinging to his bond. He appears in only 4 scenes - two of which he does nothing that could count him a villain.

    Meanwhile, the Christians who are meant to be the paragons of good are themselves not so. Bassanio is a player, and Portia, that great angel, is a hypocrite. Her "quality of mercy" speech is as perverted (morally speaking) as Shylock's "if you prick us speech" - she is no better. She preaches mercy and then luxuriates in her trap that she sets up for Shylock.

    So do we see an anti-Jewish portrayal of Shylock - yes, but I believe in a way that illustrates how society works not to contribute to it.

    Merchant of Venice is a comedy, or it was. It is now seen as a problem play or dark comedy, but this was not the case. It is not until the 20th century that racial morals enter into it, and the ideal playing of this piece would be as a complete farce where no one is spared - so that the audience may see how base humanity really is.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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