Friday, December 27, 2019

William Shakespeare s Merchant Of Venice - 2523 Words

Jews have been discriminated against for as long as man can remember. They have been called names, forced to wear red caps or yellow stars to differentiate themselves, and even put into ghettos to protect the general population from being too influenced by their â€Å"Jewish ways†. Antisemitism during the Middle Ages peaked with the expulsion of Jews from Spain. They were forced out of their homes and alienated, living on the edges of society in another country. These circumstances carried on as commonplace during the Renaissance. Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice clearly illustrates the conditions that Jews had to suffer through and the views that Christians had on Jews. These anti-semitic views continued to have a strong presence†¦show more content†¦The very Jewish culture that made them a target also kept the community together and preserved their traditions and gene patterns. A target is a person, place, or thing selected as the aim of an attack; and that is precisely what Jews were. Jews were targets open to be persecuted and antagonized by those who thought them â€Å"too different†. However what made Jews so different what not only their religion, but the culture that revolved around their beliefs. In 16th century Europe, where religion was such a huge part of everyday life, this made Jews real outsiders in their communities. In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare went a step beyond outsiders, and said lawfully, Jews were aliens: â€Å"Tarry, Jew: The law hath yet another hold on you. It is enacted in the laws of Venice, if it be proved against an alien†¦Ã¢â‚¬ (Shakespeare 4.1.2295-2298). In this scene Portia is claiming that because Shylock is a Jew, and therefore an alien, he has broken another law in threatening a Venetian’s life. However harsh, Shakespeare was historically accurate in this claim. Historically, Jews were known a s usurers because Christians, religiously, could not be. The only reason Jews were allowed to lend money (with interest) to Christians was because they were classified as â€Å"foreigners† in England. And according to the Bible, Christians were allowed to borrow money from foreigners. The idea comes from Deuteronomy 23:19-23: â€Å"You another Christian...To a foreigner, you may lend upon

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