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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: July ::
Shylock as Suffering Servant
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1213  Monday, 18 July 2005

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 09:19:32 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[2]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 09:29:46 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 18:36:19 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[4]     From:   Florence Amit <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 22:40:00 +0300
        Subj:   Subj: Re: SHK 16.1194 (3): Shylock as Suffering Servant

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 17:53:35 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[6]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Jul 2005 21:38:23 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 09:19:32 -0700
Subject: 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

 >"The MoV was written for a future audience that would be free of such
 >things as anti-Semitism."

How far into the future do you propose that to be?

Colin Cox

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 09:29:46 -0700
Subject: 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

 >"Of all the possibilities for a Hebrew reading of Shylock's name the
 >word for messenger "Shaliach" would probably be the one most customary -
 >although I have never heard it used as a given name before."

I always thought it was "shallach" meaning cormorant. The cormorant, as
a symbol of greed, would have struck a chord with the Elizabethans.
Also, I have come across "shullock" suggesting laziness. This one seems
not to fit Shakespeare's character.

Colin Cox

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 18:36:19 +0100
Subject: 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Shylock as a name?

Could it be a pun on a man / his nature who was intended to be an
instantly recognisable semi-comic Elizabethan 'Jewish' stereotypical
figure and as such is shy of unlocking his money to anyone? Shakespeare
and Jonson sharp and witty in their naming of characters?

Q: did Shakespeare intend the Shylock story to be central? OUR
generation has made it into a cause scandale, but I doubt very much that
Shakespeare's audience would have seen it as central at all. The love
stories are the central interest for them. I look forward to the day
when a production does NOT cast an Olivier, a Pacino or whoever as
Shylock and makes him a subordinate character, and goes for a Hugh
Laurie / Antony Hopkins / Emma Thompson / Nicole Kidman line up for
Bassanio, Antonio, Portia and Nerissa - a team that would suddenly light
up the love dilemmas, and the comic stuff, and the director then has the
courage to play the Shylock plot fast, in period, NOT post-Holocaust and
without 20th / 21st century historical perspective.

Might offer us a few new ways into the play?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 22:40:00 +0300
Subject: SHK 16.1194 (3): Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Subj: Re: SHK 16.1194 (3): Shylock as Suffering Servant

Dear Forum members,

Your replies to this thread are most stimulating.

Michael Egan fails to see the relevance of act five because he had not
noticed that the ploy of the Jewish party to snatch  Jessica's dowry
away from the rapacious bureaucrats of Venice succeeded, that the people
seeking refuge at Belmont made it, that the good Shylock died peacefully
knowing Jessica had conceived, rather than being caught up by a lynch
gang (as Gratiano had  depicted) - or led to the font - ; that as  a
bonus there is a Gentile guest, Antonio, along side of Launcelet to
enjoy their family celebrations, and receive with understanding his
released ships. It is time for merry making. They recall their recent
deceptions in parody.  Theatrical connotations are there too.

Ruth Ross is impatient about the length of the discussion.  Well if
Shakespeare would have known the length of time that would pass and
still no proper comprehension of what he has conceived ... By contrast,
we beg Ruth for just a little more lee way.

Syd  Kasten  perhaps had  not realized that Belmonte is  a section of
Portugal where many Jews and crypto Jews  lived a cultured life before
they were expelled.  It would be a sensitive choice of name for the
chateau of those refugees rather than Belvedere which was the name given
by the Mendes - Nasi family for their home and place of refuge and
culture near Istanbul.

I want to thank Syd for his valuable explication of the name Shiloh.

There are more names for Shylock but the one most pertinent of all, I
think is "Shai" - a present, "Lach" (Scotch pronunciation) to you,
feminine gender a present to Jessica.

Thank you all,
Florence Amit

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 17:53:35 -0400
Subject: 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Florence Amit writes:

 >My intention is to send the forum an essay that I had long ago prepared
 >for it, in which many misconceptions are dealt with. I guess that it
 >will stay put for two weeks.

There is no rush.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jul 2005 21:38:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1204 Shylock as Suffering Servant

S. L Kasten quotes Florence Amit, "Of all the possibilities for a Hebrew
reading of Shylock's name the word for messenger 'Shaliach' would
probably be the one most customary - although I have never heard it used
as a given name before."

Then S. L Kasten writes, "How about 'Shiloh?'  The Talmud gives Shiloh
as one of the names of the Messiah on the basis of a literal reading of
Genesis XLIX v. 10 in Jacob's blessing to Judah: 'The sceptre will not
depart from Judah......until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the
obedience of the people be'."

Joseph Egert writes, "Fellow resolutes!  Why did Shakespeare christen
Leah's husband 'Shylocke'? Florence Amit has already voted. Bill A. and
David B., as respective Sons of Paul and Jacob, what say ye?  Your
humble provocateur, Joe Egert"


I hope I can speak my mind without sitting under the umbrella of Paul.

I take my word from Jesus, as quoted in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

If SHAKSPEReans are truly looking for semiotic meaning in the sign
*Shylock* then a full analysis of all the names of MOV is in order.  If
so ordered, I will put my spin on those down the line.  In particular,
Bellario, Portia, Bassanio, Launcelot, Leonardo, Balthasar, Jessica.

Portia's acts of forgiveness reference the New Testament and not the Old
in contrast to the edict of the Old in which she was under in reference
to the caskets tale.  Her "portioning" out acts of mercy and forgiveness
are in stark contrast to the revenge sought by those around her which
she transcended.

Shakespeare clearly references the New Testament in his "pound of flesh"
and "drop of his blood" phrases.

Shakespeare also references the New Testament in the tale of the three
caskets, and Jesus' parables on wealth as a hindrance to anyone who
seeks salvation is noted: Jesus said, KJV, Mark, C 10, V 25, "It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich
man to enter into the kingdom of God."

Also, Jesus said, KJV, Matthew, C 6,

19 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and
rust doth currupt, and where thieves break through and steal:"

20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor
steal:"

21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

At present it is noted, in the interest of scholarship:

http://christiananswers.net/dictionary/shiloh.html

Shiloh

1. generally understood as denoting the Messiah, "the peaceful one," as
the word signifies (Gen. 49:10)

2. The Vulgate Version translates the word, "he who is to be sent," in
allusion to the Messiah; the Revised Version, margin, "till he come to
Shiloh;" and the LXX., "until that which is his shall come to Shiloh."
It is most simple and natural to render the expression, as in the
Authorized Version, "till Shiloh come," interpreting it as a proper name
(compare Isa. 9:6).

3. Shiloh, a place of rest, a city of Ephraim, "on the north side of
Bethel," from which it is distant 10 miles (Judg. 21:19); the modern
Seilun (the Arabic for Shiloh), a "mass of shapeless ruins."

4. Here the tabernacle was set up after the Conquest (Josh. 18:1-10),
where it remained during all the period of the judges till the ark fell
into the hands of the Philistines. "No spot in Central Palestine could
be more secluded than this early sanctuary, nothing more featureless
than the landscape around; so featureless, indeed, the landscape and so
secluded the spot that from the time of St. Jerome till its re-discovery
by Dr.  Robinson in 1838 the very site was forgotten and unknown." It is
referred to by Jeremiah (7:12, 14; 26:4-9) five hundred years after its
destruction.

Thus, SHAKSPEReans, if Shiloh is the intended symbolic predecessor for
Shylock, then he can be seen as a Messianic Christ figure.  Point for
point rendering between the Shakespearean text and Christology makes
Shylock as Shiloh compelling, and ironic [ ! ]  Of course, all this is
predicated upon the Shakespearean Age audience's love of the bard's
puns, whereas most of the names in the love comedies take on semiotic
significance within the context of the plays.  It is indeed ironic that
Shylock late in life comes to the realization he is a victim of his own
callousness and greed, nor should we forget that Jesus took a forty day
and night sojourn in the desert to rid himself of the infamous sins of
the flesh before he became one with the Holy Spirit [ ! ]

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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