Racial Discrimination In The Merchant Of Venice

1496 WordsSep 5, 20176 Pages
Everything is not as it seems. In other words, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This message is applicable to racial discrimination and stereotypes. For example, from the 1200s to the 1600s, Europeans discriminated against Jews extensively. This was most prominent in Venice and England. Jews were forced to live on an island called the Ghetto in Venice and were cruelly oppressed throughout history in the Italian city.. In the 1200s, Jews were banned from England. Finally, they started to come back in the 1600s but had limitations because they were known for their high intelligence compared to the English, as well as in Venice. In Venice they were only allowed to be usurers, or loaners that demand high rates of interest, which is something…show more content…
Whoever chooses the right one may wed Portia. The Prince of Morocco chooses the gold casket because “never so rich a gem was set in worse than gold.”(2.7.60-61) He says that no one is more beautiful than Portia and compares her to gold. Based on that comparison, he chooses the gold casket.. However, when he opens the casket he reads that “All that glitters isn’t gold...had you been wise as bold, young in limbs, in judgement old.”(2.7.73-79) These quotes show that the casket story directly supports the message (one must not judge by the cover to have pure judgement) and supports the motive that Shakespeare has in mind for this play. Also, Bassanio is one of the protagonists of the play, and he tries to wed Portia. He chooses the lead casket because it had an inner beauty, though the outside was ugly. Obviously, the lead casket is the right one and the casket inside has a message that says “You that choose not by the view chance as fair and choose as true.”(3.2.135-136) This further shows that Shakespeare wants the audience to learn to not judge by appearance, and to be humble because one who judges thinks highly of themselves. Thus, this play is not Anti-Semitic because all the characters act abusively towards Shylock just because he is a Jew. They judge him by the outside and do not look at the inner qualities of Shylock. Also, if Shakespeare used this theme as his main motive then he is trying to indirectly demote Anti-Semitism. If
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