Jews And Christians In Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice

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One of Shakespeare’s many renowned plays, ‘’The Merchant Of Venice’’ represents two social groups, Jews and Christians. The play shines a light upon their differences and creates a sense of contrast. They are separated by two factors, religion and wealth, Jews being less valued due to their religion. Through characterisation, they are represented dependant on their social status as well as what social group they are classified within. The play is indicative of an identity, which defines jews and christians through different social positions and classes, aiming to please the Elizabethan audience that attended Shakespeare's plays. We encounter Shylock, a character that is in many ways presented as a villain through his actions and other character’s perception of him. Although, one can question if this is due to a prejudice through their eyes based on religion, and one is left in a villain or victim dilemma. Other characters also depict that Jews could only be accepted if a conversion occurs to Christianity. Through Shakespeare’s characterisation with the use of diction and dialogue throughout the play, there is a contrast developed between Jews’ and Christians’ status and power, this gives us an insight of how…show more content…
It was these social conflicts and classes that caused social divides within society during the Elizabethan Era, in which The Merchant Of Venice takes place. Considering the fact that Shakespeare characterised Shylock’s identity as part of a religious group, this evidently shows the prejudice held against Jews at the time and the desire to for the playwright to please the Elizabethan audience. Until late 1500’s, the Jewish population was practically non existent, and they were solely valued by by monetarily, likewise as to how Shylock was forced to pay almost all of his money to the

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