Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: *MV* and Antonio
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0792.  Sunday, 15 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Jesus Cora <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 13 Oct 1995 15:58:48 UTC+0200
        Subj:   SHK 6.0777  Re: Re: *MV* and Antonio
 
(2)     From:   Joan Hartwig <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 13 Oct 95 22:48:06 EDT
        Subj:   RE: Antonio and *MV*
 
(3)     From:   Joe Nathan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 14 Oct 1995 05:31:03 -0700
        Subj:   MV
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jesus Cora <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 13 Oct 1995 15:58:48 UTC+0200
Subject: Re: Re: *MV* and Antonio
Comment:        SHK 6.0777  Re: Re: *MV* and Antonio
 
Dear Shakespeareans,
 
I am afraid I have missed much of the debate on *MV* and I do not know whether
my suggestion has already been made. Has anyone thought that Shakespeare's
Shylock could be the embodiment of a critique against Puritans covered with the
veneer of what seems to be antisemitism? For some reason or another,
Shakespeare concealed his disapproval of Puritans unlike Jonson in *The
Alchemist* and *Bartholomew Fair* or Thomas Randolph in *The Muses' Looking
Glass*. Perhaps, Shakespeare fancied antisemitism as "politically correct" -if
I may say so- as a contrast to the overt depiction of a Puritan on stage.
 
The literal reading of the Bible, favoured by some sects, would be the idea
aimed at in the whole business of the bond and the trial scene. Here's a new
turn in the discussion. Does anyone agree?
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joan Hartwig <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 13 Oct 95 22:48:06 EDT
Subject:        RE: Antonio and *MV*
 
Although it is a bit late to enter into the discussion, I was delighted to find
Bill Godshalk considering the possibility that Portia (and Shakespeare) would
make a joke to "take the audience with her" in asking "Which is the merchant
here? and which the Jew?"  I have always understood that this was a joke to
tease the audience out of the all-too-serious stances it may have taken on
judging either Antonio or Shylock.  Not that serious matter does not follow.
Comic shifts in perspective are, to my reading and seeing, one of Shakespeare's
fortes.
 
Has anyone mentioned Bernard Grebanier's *The Truth About Shylock* (New York:
Random House, 1962), in which he reviews almost twenty analogues for the "pound
of flesh story" both in ancient times and in fiction more contemporary with
Shakespeare's time?  Shakespeare was not only aware of Marlowe.
 
Considerately,
Joan Hartwig
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joe Nathan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 14 Oct 1995 05:31:03 -0700
Subject:        MV
 
This thread has certainly produced some lively posts.  I read them all with
great interest.  This is not an original thought, but I wonder if anyone agrees
with my conclusion that - particularly in this play -  our beloved bard lost
control over the key characters. Did Shakespeare's script turn out as he
originally intended? I have this mental image of Shakespeare setting out to
write his play -- and then the characters took over.   For instance -- Who
wrote the Hath-not-a-Jew-eyes-speech?  Shakespeare or Shylock? I doubt - given
the standard image of the Jew which was prevalent in Shakespeare's day -- if
the author set out to arouse any sympathy for Shylock --  but he did.    Where
does the line *Which is the merchant and which the Jew?* come from?  Did
Shakespeare write it as comic relief?  Or did Portia make her entrance and
surprise Shakespeare (and us) with it in order to make a point we had never
considered?  And what about that last act?  With Shylock disposed of, who
insisted on a confrontation with Bassanio/Antonio -- Shakespeare or Portia?
 
As I said, I know there is nothing original here.  This concept has been
expressed many times.  But for some reason I feel it more in MV than in any of
Shakespeare's plays.  The only other writing which gives me such a strong
feeling of an author losing control of his own creation is Wagner's Ring. Is
this totally crazy - or does someone else feel it too?
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.