Merchant Of Venice - Anti Semitism

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William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), was an English poet and play writer, he wrote many plays, and still to this day, his writing is highly regarded and studied throughout the world. ‘Merchant of Venice’ was considered a comedy when it was written, but in modern times it comes off as more of a tragedy. It’s a love story, and a story of good triumphing over evil, but there are themes hidden in the story, which become apparent when it is properly studied. At a glance, the play appears to support racism towards Jews, but delving deeper into the meaning of the text, the opposite view comes about, and the readers can see that Shakespeare intended the play to condemn prejudice and anti-Semitism; he shows this through the Characters, their dialogue and the storyline. The characters in the play are mostly Christians, who are all prejudice against Jews. Antonio is probably the biggest Jew-hater, and Shakespeare shows this view of Antonio’s and all the other Christians as the main idea of the story. “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gabardine, and all for use of that which is mine own.” (act1.3 line108) Although Jews are condemned and hated, this isn’t to emphasize the prejudice, it’s only to show how unfairly they are treated, and to make the audience see, and feel sorry for Shylock, being a Jew. In January 1933, about 522,000 Jews lived in Germany. In the first 6 years of the Nazi dictatorship, over half the Jews moved, leaving under 214,000 Jews in Germany just before World War II. The Nazi regime brought massive change to the social, economic and communal life of the Jews. They were highly mistreated, expelled from the professions and commercial life. ( - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.) The Jews were
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