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The portrayal of anti semitism in william shakespeares the merchant of venice

However, as you continue to examine the text, Shakespeare portrays Shylock in a much more human way than was generally done in those days and he shows that Shylock is, in fact, a part of humanity. Shakespeare challenges anti-Semitism by showing that Jews are just like Christians.

He does this by proving how the imperfections that people have are what make us human.

  • Shakespeare was able to The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 1581 words - 6 pages The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The character Shylock was a stereotypical Jew of his time, and as Jews were generally unpopular, the audience would have been automatically prejudiced against him;
  • Shakespeare makes a number of references to the fact that Shylock is a Jew so the reader is clear about his religious status;
  • Much before the twentieth century, anti-Semitism was rife and The Merchant of Venice is a curious tale, as we are able to see how Jews were viewed in the late 1500s - especially as Shakespeare's depiction was at Racism in The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare 570 words - 2 pages In one of his plays, titled "The Merchant of Venice", Shakespeare presents to us several views on a form of racism, namely anti-Semitism;
  • If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?
  • From the alternately generous and grasping Antonio to the alternately love stricken and exploitative Bassanio to the vulnerable and manipulative Portia, this play has an abundance of multi-layered personalities.

Even today, Shakespeare shows the world how hypocritical people can be, no matter their religion, race, or personal beliefs. Shakespeare uses irony in this play to illustrate that the bad things that Shylock the Jew has done are no worse than what Antonio the Christian has done in his lifetime. Therefore, this creates the effect of humanizing the characters and demonstrates that regardless of religion or race, people have both good and bad sides.

Merchant of Venice Essay Anti- Semitism We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. How fast would you like to get it?

We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. I [Shylock] am a Jew. Although William Shakespeare leads you to believe that Shylock is prejudiced toward Christians, the reason for his hatred becomes clear when you learn that he is a man who is abused by the Christians surrounding him.

  • Then, Antonio was made to be a hypocrite who might have been gay;
  • Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?
  • If you prick us, do we not bleed?

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, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

Shakespeare And Anti Semitism In The Merchant Of Venice

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, shall we not revenge?

If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?

  1. Shakespeare Head Press, 1998.
  2. He might act the villain, but can he be blamed? If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?
  3. A Legend and Its Legacy.
  4. Indeed, a Jewish villain turns out to deserve our sympathy. Shylock has a desire for revenge, which further humanizes him and connects him with Antonio.

If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Shylock defends his humanity by showing the Christians that they are no different from the Jews they treat with such disrespect.

Shylock has a desire for revenge, which further humanizes him and connects him with Antonio.

However, a closer look at how Shakespeare shapes the play illustrates a deeper theme—that people are people, no matter their religion, race, or beliefs. While Shylock is mean because of the cruel treatment he has received throughout his life, Antonio has no excuse. Shylock makes you realize that while Shakespeare may give the appearance that he is an anti-Semitist, he really believes that all people are equal and hatred is universal.

Deconstructing what makes the Bard’s play so problematic

Need Help With Your Essay? He shows that the conflicts in The Merchant of Venice may start out because of religious differences; however, the actual message is more how the desire for revenge is something all people have in common, despite any other differences in their lives.

  • Therefore, this creates the effect of humanizing the characters and demonstrates that regardless of religion or race, people have both good and bad sides;
  • Susannah Heschel, professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, says that critics have long debated what motivated Shakespeare to write this play;
  • Between 1933 and 1939, there were more than 50 productions performed there;
  • The lead casket is in fact the correct one.

Shylock challenges the stereotypes given to him in the beginning of the book and creates a complex character whose behavior is justified because of the way the other characters treat him. The Merchant of Venice demonstrates that no writers have to be bound by the prejudices of their time. Some people may argue that because Shakespeare gives Shylock the stereotypical Jewish characteristics, he is obviously anti-Semitic.