William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

(7173 words)
  • John Drakakis

Few of Shakespeare’s comedies have aroused such contradictory passions as The Merchant of Venice. Harold Bloom, in Shakespeare and The Invention of The Human (1998), asserts “[one] would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to recognise that Shakespeare’s grand, equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly anti-Semitic work” (p.171). The problem involves the portrayal of the figure of the “Jew” Shylock since it is difficult for us to approach this character outside the context of the Holocaust. Indeed, Arnold Wesker – who re-wrote the play as The Merchant (1976-78) in order to explain and exorcise its anti-Semitism – argued it was no …

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Drakakis, John. "The Merchant of Venice". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=151, accessed 30 June 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan