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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Shylock as Suffering Servant
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1371  Tuesday, 23 August 2005

[1] 	From: 	Joachim Martillo <
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	Date: 	Monday, 22 Aug 2005 09:14:37 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[2] 	From: 	JD Markel <
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	Date: 	Monday, 22 Aug 2005 12:16:08 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1352 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[3] 	From: 	D Bloom <
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	Date: 	Monday, 22 Aug 2005 15:10:09 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[4] 	From: 	Scot Zarela <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 23 Aug 2005 14:21:58 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1360 Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joachim Martillo <
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Date: 		Monday, 22 Aug 2005 09:14:37 EDT
Subject: 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant

 >What intrigues me here is what probably intrigued Will Shakespeare when
 >he penned his portrayal of the money-lenders in MOV.  Recall that Jesus
 >drove the money-lenders out of The Temple.  Recall that Jesus disputed
 >with the lawyers in The Temple.  Recall that Jesus admonished his
 >disciple who cut off the ear of a Roman to save The Savior's life.  Read
 >the Epiphany of Christology, the famous Sermon on The Mount: KJV,
 >Matthew, C 5-7, in particular, 38-40, 44-45, 48, from Will Shakespeare's
 >Savior, the words of  Jesus,

Jesus did not drive money lenders out of the Temple.  He drove money 
changers out.  The Herodian Temple elite was involved in many 
inappropriate activities, but money lending was not one of them.

Joachim Martillo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		JD Markel <
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Date: 		Monday, 22 Aug 2005 12:16:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1352 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1352 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Larry said:

 >"There are one or two SHAKSPERians who have come close
 >to saying that Shylock should have been allowed to
 >butcher Antonio, but I surely hope they are not "just
 >about everyone."

Fair enough.  By "result" I erroneously assumed you meant the result 
Shylock received.

But on Antonio, yes, I think the oft imagined "Elizabethan Audience" 
would have liked to have seen Antonio go under the knife.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		D Bloom <
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Date: 		Monday, 22 Aug 2005 15:10:09 -0500
Subject: 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1360 Shylock as Suffering Servant

I may, of course, as Ed Taft claims, always be wrong (although I hope 
not for his sake because I occasionally agree with him), but my goal is 
not to make the plays simple but coherent. The likelihood or validity of 
an interpretation depends on how well it accounts for the facts of the 
work. Contrariwise, if a theory seems to ignore or twist or create facts 
that really aren't there, then I find it that much less likely.

Another way of looking at it is to say, to what degree is the 
interpretation a rational and coherent experience of the work, and to 
what degree a projection of inner psychological needs onto it by the 
interpreter? (I am not, I realize, exempt from this questioning.)

Now, I discovered some time ago that I have a particular liking for 
romantic comedies-LLL, MSND, MOV, MAAN, and AYLI especially. I like them 
as such for the same reasons: the zany situations that they develop, the 
attractiveness of the heroine (who is usually a very strong and 
intelligent person, and frequently witty), and the romantic resolution.

These plays are, of course, quite different from each other in other 
respects, and that, too, is part of their charm (at least to me). But 
when I encounter theories that suggest that they are not romantic 
comedies at all, I naturally find myself questioning those theories to 
consider their validity. Of course, I want them to be invalid, but 
knowing that bias, I try to counteract it rationally by looking at what 
such a theory does with the whole play. Is the theory coherent, and on 
what terms?

In the case of MOV there are some fairly obvious complications 
(difficulties, if you like) for the modern reader. The most important 
have to do with Shylock: his defense of himself (and his religion) 
against Antonio's insults; the matter of Jessica; and the pathos of his 
defeat in the trial scene. (There are others, of course.)

The question I had to ask myself was whether these complication turned 
what I thought of as a romantic comedy into the dark, bitter, and 
savagely ironic expression of the victory of evil over good that some 
theories held it be. I thought not, but I had to consider it. Re-reading 
the last two acts, I could not view them as anything except happy. Only 
a very strange (to me) definition of evil and good could make them 
anything else, but I had no doubt that people held it.

But if the ending is happy then the various questions about Shylock 
(among others) had to be resolved. The play could be coherent while 
exploring the nature of love and happiness, or coherent while expressing 
a bitter and cynical view of life, or incoherent. Rejecting both the 
latter two, I had to assure myself of the validity of the first.

To Ed this appears a simple, na

 

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