229997, I agree with Frank here -- pro-jew lens is a modern phenomenon|
Posted by celery77, Sun Nov-12-06 02:01 AM
>It's easy to say now in a day and age where Jewish people
>suffer far less discrimination than they did in, say, 1600 in
>England. But there are multiple instances in Shakespeare (not
>just Merchant of Venice) where a character says something
>vaguely or blatantly anti-Semitic. I don't think we can safely
>say that Shakespeare was sympathetic toward the plight of
>I do think he wanted to point out how a Jew would end up being
>so cold-hearted, and give him a bit more characterization. But
>I don't think that he intended at all on this excusing the
>callousness of Shylock's actions.
Shakespeare wrote a compelling play for whatever reason. Maybe even he knew that giving some sympathy to the villain just sucks the audience in that much more, because they really don't know who's going to win, but as far as how Billy really felt about Shylock, I think it's pretty clear he thought he was a vulgar Jew.