Nathan The Wise: Act 3 - Act 5
"You're becoming bitter. But do I deserve this? Have I refused you anything? It's just that at the
moment I don't want to take you at your word. That's all (3-9)".
The context leading up to this quote begins with Nathan talking with Saladin. Saladin is testing
Nathan to see if he is a wise man or just a man who seeks out greed. Nathan tells a story to
Saladin about a ring and his three sons. The father makes a copy of the rings and the moral of the
story is that no matter the original ring, it does not matter. Saladin is later impressed by the story
and becomes friends with Nathan. The templar finally alone talks about meeting Recha and his
true feelings are expressed.
The context in this quote is a conversation between the Templar and Nathan. The conversation is
about the templar explaining his love for Nathan's daughter Recha. Nathan is insistent on the
Templar to come to his house but is hesitant due to religion as she is a jew and he is a Christian.
The templar insists on waiting while Nathan returns home.
My reaction to this passage and in particular, Act 3, was rather surprising. The templar, one with
different religions, was surprisingly open about his religion and expressed his true feelings to
Nathan after saving his daughter in a house fire. In a time with very religious ideologies it is not
likely for this to happen as religion was very strict back in this particular time. Further, there
would also be severe punishment as well as you can be judged upon society for even meeting
with a different religious background altogether.
What societal impact did religion have back in this time? How has religious freedom changed in
Reading Summary Questions:
1. Interpret how Recha’s discussion with Daja (3:1) relates to the self-awareness she has
when she meets the Templar (3:2) and the feelings she has afterwards (3:3).