Notes - English 15 1/11/07 The Merchant of Venice Shylock o...

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English 15 1/11/07 15/04/2008 01:11:00 The Merchant of Venice Shylock o Not the merchant of Venice (Antonio) o Much of the reason for the plays appeal o Great theatrical character because he is a Jew Being Jewish was a fascination because rare Jews were monsters in early days Part of fascination in 19 th century when Jew became Prime Minister of England He is part of the fascination of the play In early times Jew seen as villain, now seen as the victim o Portrays him as an abusive figure and they come out with history and change with history o Essentially a comic figure, played with a red wig and big nose o In 18 th century, Sir Henry Irving made Shylock sympathetically How the play may have come about o 1594- a Jew doctor executed for treason (Rodrigo Lopez o Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (1589) revived 1595 The competing company the Shakespeare Villain Jew: Barabas wronged by Christian and seeks revenge Shakespeare needs a play to match them o Shakespeare went to the collection of Italian Tales Fiorentino II Pecorone (14 th century) Tale of Gannett and the Lady of Belmont Dramatized with a Jew Perspectivism: A villain with a point of view o Jew seen from the outside (Marlowe) o Shylock clearly given a point of view, see the world through Jews Point of View o POV metaphor, where you stand Realization of POV Every character has a defined POV Actor must ask the question not the reader
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English 15 1/16/07 15/04/2008 01:11:00 Merchant of Venice: Christian vs. Jew
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Money Bonds vs. Love Bonds o To rite a play about a Jew, is to write about Christians o Jews associated with usury o Usury’s problematic, Jews were among the first bankers o Goes back to the condemnation of usury o Aristotle against usury All commerce is less natural for households because not productive Gaining from trading with each other Violation of the natural categories of the universe o Bible against usury, in terms of friends (Deut. 23:20) Used this to justify usury o Capital is absolutely essential in economy o 1571- usury became legal if no greater than 10% o Shakespeare’s father lended out money at interest o Always an ambiguous practice o Shakespeare makes Shylock a kind of character type Calculating all the time Name means “locked up” or “closed” o Shylock sees the Christians generosity as an opportunity to mock them o Contrast of visions of society
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People tied together by economic reasons People tied together through generosity o Legally the LCM are the household servants of the king Servants in feudal relationship of service Lives by selling places for the theater o Shylock is solitary figure (daughter, servant desert him) Inserted into context of social atmosphere o Bonds of love in society not just bonds of commerce o Usury: Prohibitions and Practices o Shylock as Economic man A theological dimension: Law vs. Grace o Christ came to fulfill the Hebrew law turning law into grace
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Notes - English 15 1/11/07 The Merchant of Venice Shylock o...

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