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Cutural Analysis Paper

Cutural Analysis Paper - Abercrombie 1 Michelle Abercrombie...

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Abercrombie 1 Michelle Abercrombie Professor Ryan Paul English 103H-30 22 October 2007 Cultural Analysis Merchant of Venice Although the setting of Merchant of Venice is in Italy, it is written by an English author, William Shakespeare, allowing the reader insight into English society in the late sixteenth century. Merchant of Venice causes controversy and a certain uncomfortable ness in today’s culture, although it was probably a part of every day life during the time the play was written. Religious and sexual prejudice is very evident throughout the play, in the interaction and behavior of the characters. Through characterization, dialogue, and the setting of the play, the reader can infer the cultural values and ideals of Shakespeare’s England. The most evident cultural prejudice of Shakespeare’s sixteenth century England is religion. Shylock, the Jewish money lender is portrayed as an evil, immoral man, due to his brutish religion and profession. Interest was donned a sin by Christians in the sixteenth century, and any who were not Christian (Jewish among them) were considered barbaric. Through the years of Christian harassment and torment, Shylock the Jewish money lender has developed a hatred for the Christian merchants, “…I hate him for he is a Christian, but more for that in low simplicity. He lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice. If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He
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Abercrombie 2 hates our sacred nation and he rails… cursed be my tribe if I forgive him” (Shakespeare Act1 Scene3, 36-46).
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