Write 3 page essay on the topic Inhumanity against Jews in the Shakespeare era evident in Merchant of Venice.
But in a study, Jami Rogers contends that “Shakespeare, however, did not write a one-dimensional villain, but a complex character who defies explanation and who will probably never be fully understood” (1).
Theaters of Shakespeare’s society had a long tradition of portraying the Jews in as greedy, usurer, and Machiavellian. But Shakespeare indiscernibly appends a new humanizing tone to his contemporary trend of Judaic portrayal that upholds a Jew character as melodramatic. Not disheartening the audience who were accustomed to view the Jews as the biblical traitors of Jesus, Shakespeare has frequently has drawn their attention to the inhuman part of his society’s attitude and behaviors towards them both in Shylock’s own word and in the plot construction of the play. Following the long cherished tradition of the theaters of his era, Shakespeare has characterized Shylock as a typical villain who is even convicted with the intention of murder.
At some points Shylock can be considered as the reflection of his society’s antagonism towards him. Though inhumanly behavior of the society towards Shylock becomes outweighed by the biblical allusion of a Jew traitor hungry for a Christian’s blood, the audience is frequently reminded of the fact that Shylock is the most oppressed victim of the society’s injustice. As a part of this reminder, Shakespeare makes Shylock speak in support of the Jews humanly existence in spite of the cultural and racial difference:
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions. fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?
Shakespeare shows that a man like, continually facing his fellow people’s hatred and, antagonistic and humiliating behavior like spitting, stoning,
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