The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0265 Thursday, 10 February 2005
Date: Wednesday, 9 Feb 2005 16:23:28 EST
Subject: More on the Noble Shylock
Having done some research on the ignoble and noble Shylock, I wonder if
any member of the group could address and clarify several issues.
Is it generally thought that Shakespeare wanted to cash in on the recent
success of THE JEW OF MALTA.
Is it possible that Shakespeare knew his audiences were particularly
eager to see punishment of the perfidious Jew in the context of the
trial and execution of Roderigo Gomez, the Spanish Jewish physician
falsely accused of planning Elizabeth's poisoning.
Finally, is it conceivable in the above context that Shakespeare wrote
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at least partly to curry Elizabeth's favor, in
the context of the search for legitimacy through the Queen's approval.
I have not gotten the history entirely straight, but I recall that the
JEW OF MALTA preceded MERCHANT OF VENICE closely, and wonder if Gomez'
very public execution took place not long before MERCHANT was first
Thanks in advance for any help. Harvey Roy Greenberg, MD
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