William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice (8635 words)

John Drakakis (University of Stirling)
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Few of Shakespeare’s comedies have aroused such contradictory passions as  The Merchant of Venice. Harold Bloom 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” (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  (1976-1978) in order to explain and exorcise its anti-Semitism – argued it was no longer appropriate to …

Citation: Drakakis, John. "The Merchant of Venice". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2005; last revised 20 January 2020. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=151, accessed 17 September 2021.]

151 The Merchant of Venice 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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