Theme Of Anti Semitism In The Merchant Of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and has been widely and broadly discussed and studied all over the world. Many critics have discussed its themes, characters, structure, genre, and other dramatic concerns. In this paper, focus is made on the morality. In an earlier age, The Merchant of Venice was used by anti-Semitic people to support that anti-Semitism is good. Nowadays, it is much more likely to be used to say that anti-Semitism is bad. In fact it says neither; it only says that racism exists, and the more racism exists, the more hatred begets.

1. Villain or the victim
In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is always made known that he is the villain. In the Elizabethan period, the Christians viewed Shylock as …show more content…

Whether or not Shakespeare endorses the anti-Semitism of the Christian characters in the play has been much debated and still remains as a question among the readers. Jews in Shakespeare’s England were a marginalized group, and Shakespeare’s contemporaries would have been very familiar with portrayals of Jews as villains and objects of mockery. Shakespeare certainly draws on this anti-Semitic tradition in portraying Shylock, exploiting Jewish stereotypes for comic effect on the …show more content…

Shylock, again is mistreated due to his religion. In Venice at that time the Christians looked down upon the Jewish people as I have mentioned above. Shakespeare focuses on this point through the tense relationship between Shylock, the Jew and Antonio, the Christian. The tension stems from their religious differences. While Shylock cannot understand the hatred of Jewish people on Antonio and the rest of the Christians, Antonio treats him like a dog and he even expresses it through his word. When Antonio asks Shylock to lend him money, Shylock says: “Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last, you spurn me such a day, another time you called me a dog; and for these courtesies, I’ll lend you thus much money?” Antonio’s reply is “l am like to call thee so again. To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it as to thy friends, for when did friendship take a breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather tho thine enemy, who if he break thou may stay with better face exact the penalty.” Their conversation clearly indicates that even after Shylock does Antonio’s favor, Antonio’s hatred towards him would not get any better, he would still be hostile to Shylock by spitting on him and referring him to a dog. Shakespeare illustrates the morality issue and portrays Shylock as a victim once more through

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