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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Shylock as Suffering Servant
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1324  Thursday, 11 August 2005

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 13:26:39 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1311 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[2]     From:   Joseph Egert <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 13:33:31 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[3]     From:   Robert Projansky <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 12:18:53 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 13:26:39 +0100
Subject: 16.1311 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1311 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Martin Steward puts his finger on the problem I think, and so no more
needs to be said by way of response to Weiss and Arnold.

Stuart Manger raises an interesting point, however. Antonio isn't aware
that his ships will come to grief although Shylock lays out the risks
for him. 2 things worth pondering: (i) Antonio's 'sadness' at 1.1.,
echoed by Portia's 'sadness' in 1.2. and (ii) the role that 'providence'
plays in mercantilist thinking. If Antonio is successful in his ventures
then providence will smile on him; it doesn't initially, but then it
does finally. All of that has nothing to do with markets, interest, or
profit.

OR, of course, we can think of all this as a mystification of the
realities (16th century realities) of economic practice.

There's a lot here that intersects with questions of genre, and the
mobilization of theatrical stereotypes. Where do you want to start?

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Egert <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 13:33:31 +0000
Subject: 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Mulling over THE MERCHANT's echoes from Scripture, I was struck by verse
22 in HEBREWS 9:

"Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."

If we follow Purimspielers Florence Amit and David Basch through the
looking glass, one can indeed imagine one or more Jewish sources with
the play's roles reversed. The original Portia and her fellow Venetian
Jews, intent on saving their Suffering Servant Anthonio (the Akeidah's
Isaac?) from blood sacrifice, may be heeding their post-Akeidah God of
Old in His ban against further human sacrifice. Shylock then incarnates
the bloodthirsty pre-Akeidah Elder gods conflated with their New updated
Christian Father God. In the trial's Gotterdammerung, Portia, the
God-of-Old's Angel of Mercy thwarts the New/Elder dispensation by
insisting on a bloodless execution, thus rescuing both Anthonio and
Shylock from human sacrifice.

A toast (all wine, no blood) to their true Saviour, the Old Testament's
Lady of Belmont, Portia!

LeChaim!
Joe Egert

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Projansky <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 12:18:53 -0700
Subject: 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1318 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Ed Taft says,

 >. . . . To me, every major action [Portia] takes in the play is
 >both right and wrong at the same time . . ."

To which Don Bloom counters

 >First, what does she do except cite the law? How is that morally wrong?

Well, probably the most dishonest thing possible: she cheats Shylock of
a fair trial by falsely posing as a judge to judge a case in which the
defendant is her husband's best friend, which is to say she insures
Antonio's escape by putting in the fix. Anything morally wrong there? I
find it odd that this seems to be so little noticed.

Bob Projansky

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