The Role Of Jews And Jews In William Shakespeare

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Jews were not only treated poorly during Shakespeare’s time, but also before he was born. In England and Italy, Jews were mistreated because of their beliefs, and in many cases they had to go through a lot of religious prejudice and discrimination. One example of this is when King Edward I issued an order called the Edict of Expulsion on July 18, 1290. This stated that all Jews had to leave England in less than three months. The same day the Edict was proclaimed, letters were sent to most counties telling all Jews they had until November 1 to leave. Any Jews that were left after this date were allowed to be captured and killed (Ross). Before this was proclaimed, “English Kings saw Jewish moneylenders as a convenient source of funds” (Ross). This meant that many Kings borrowed heavily from them and they couldn’t do anything because they were treated as less than human because of their religion. However, Jews were given special protection under the law and were to be declared direct subjects of the King. This meant that the King could order taxes against the Jews without needing the approval of Parliament (Ross). As a result, Jewish moneylenders lost a great sum of money towards the King. A second example of how Jews were mistreated before Shakespeare’s time is how many myths were made up about them. They gained a reputation as moneylenders that charged far too much, which made them unpopular with the general public (Norman). “An image of the Jew as a diabolical figure who
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