William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice

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Yet, from an Islamic perspective, the answer is no. While the American public seems enamored with more and more debt, Islam has distinct regulations regarding the acquisition of personal debt. The reason is clear: In Islam, economics and religion are inextricably linked—a concept completely foreign to all but the most fundamentalist Americans. The ills of money-lending from the Eastern perspective have been fodder for Western literature for centuries, replete with illustrations that mirror the differences and similarities in East-West cultural norms. In William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, money-lending has gone awry. In Act I, Scene iii, the Italian Antonio seeks to borrow 3,000 ducats from the Jewish Shylock, and Shylock intends to charge him interest, which is against Jewish economic-religious principles (Bate 425). Shylock defends the practice of using interest in loaning money by retelling the Biblical story of Jacob and Laban. Indeed, he needs to defend it because in his Jewish culture, interest on loaned money is considered illegal and morally corrupt. In this case, Islam and Judaism, both Eastern religions, are religiously and economically compatible. When Shylock reels out his version of the biblical story, we can see that his perspective is so skewed that he alters the true meaning of the Scripture. The Old Testament teaches that honesty and ethical principles are keys to successful, fair, and open business transactions, and that when one entity tries
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