Online Literary Criticism Collection
Sites about The Merchant of Venice
Considered to be one of Shakespeare’s darkest comedies, this play tells the story of a young man, Bassanio, who has lost his fortune and must borrow money to romance the rich woman he is in love with. Countering this is the story of the Jewish moneylender Shylock and his demand for the “pound of flesh” owed him by the Venetian merchant, Antonio, who has fallen into Shylock’s debt.
Characters: Portia, Shylock, Bassanio, Lorenzo, Antonio
Critical sites about The Merchant of Venice
- A Second Daniel: The Jew and the “True Jew” in The Merchant of Venice
- “This essay argues that Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is anti-Jewish in wayshitherto unrecognized by scholars. The play and its chief characters embrace andendorse anti-Jewish attitudes typical of early modern Protestantism, verysophisticated attitudes based on hermeneutic and soteriological theories of the Jewcentral to Protestant theology. Two recent books, James Shapiro’s Shakespeare and theJews and Martin Yaffe’s Shylock and the Jewish Question, form the immediate contextfor this argument. Shapiro’s suggestion that there’s more to Shylock’s invocation ofDaniel in Act 4 than has been recognized and Barbara Lewalski’s reminder thatPortia’s assumed name, Balthasar, is the biblical Daniel’s Babylonian name promptedthis essay. The play assigns Portia the role of a Christian Daniel, the ‘true Jew’ ofearly modern Protestant imagination, and casts Shylock as a ‘false Jew,’ virtually aBabylonian.”
- Contains: Character Analysis, Historical Context,
- Author: Thomas H. Luxon
- From: Early Modern Literary Studies 4.3 (January, 1999): 3.1-37
- Shakespeare and Anti-Semitism: The Question of Shylock
- “This page is designed as an introductory resource for anyone who isinterested in the nature of Elizabethan anti-semitism: both in itshistorical context and, in particular, how it is reflected and embodied inShakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.“
- Contains: Character Analysis, Historical Context, Content Analysis,
- Keywords: Jew
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Last Updated Apr 29, 2013