Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: March ::
Untouchable Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0147  Friday, 7 March 2008

[1] 	From:	JD Markel <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Friday, 29 Feb 2008 12:21:05 -0800 (PST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare

[2] 	From:	Marilyn A. Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Friday, 29 Feb 2008 15:49:02 -0500
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespear

[3] 	From:	John Drakakis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Sunday, 2 Mar 2008 12:31:56 -0000
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare

[4] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, March 07, 2008
	Subj: 	Re: Untouchable Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		JD Markel <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Friday, 29 Feb 2008 12:21:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare

"Shylock is not the Jew; he is the Devil. How many times does 
Shakespeare have to say that before we believe him?"

Shylock is a demanding being, a kind of devil, but Bassanio is the Devil 
himself.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Marilyn A. Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Friday, 29 Feb 2008 15:49:02 -0500
Subject: 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare

Aaron Azlant cites Norman Rabkin speaking of Shylock's "motiveless 
malignity" and I am again, as so often, astounded by such a concept.

While I quite agree that the modern concept of "anti-Semitism" cannot be 
applied to Shakespeare, and that Shylock is in many ways a rather stock 
comedic "villain," I do not agree that his anger and desire for harm are 
"motiveless."

Perhaps it comes from my being chased down the hall of my high school in 
1960 by one Richard H. who was shouting "goddam dirty Jew bastard" at me 
as he chased me?

Had I felt need to entrap Richard in some plot whereby I could do him 
some malignant damage, I assure you it would not have been motiveless.

The difference between Shylock and the stock villain is precisely that 
he *does* have motive-he *has* been by both objective standards and his 
own sense of grievance most unrighteously mistreated.  That he pursues 
his vengeance beyond the point where he could have had his financial 
recompense may be malign, but it is not motiveless.

Mari Bonomi

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Drakakis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Sunday, 2 Mar 2008 12:31:56 -0000
Subject: 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0142 Untouchable Shakespeare

I am afraid that Thomas Pendleton is quite wrong. This does not mean 
that a play like The Merchant of Venice is 'untouchable'.  In fact quite 
the contrary: we need to understand the complex way in which it figures 
what in the post-holocaust world that we inhabit, 'anti-Semitism'.  Only 
once we understand it, and its nuanced (in this case 16th century) 
representations, can we do something to change it. There are plenty of 
areas in which we should not give Shakespeare the benefit of the doubt, 
just as there are many ways in which good art opens up and helps top 
formulate difficult subjects for wider discussion. The telos of The 
Merchant is clearly (if awkwardly) anti-Semitic but the play exposes for 
us, and makes available for us to 'read' its contours.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, March 07, 2008
Subject: 	Re: Untouchable Shakespeare

http://news.scotsman.com/education/School-slips-as-girls-shun.3833068.jp

School slips as girls shun 'antisemitic' Shakespeare
The Scotsman
By Tim Ross

A JEWISH school tumbled down national league tables after pupils refused 
to answer questions on Shakespeare because they believed he was antisemitic.

Nine girls at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School in Stamford Hill, 
north London, got no marks for their national curriculum Shakespeare 
tests as a result of their protest.

The view of Shakespeare as prejudiced against Jews stems from his 
portrayal of the money-lender Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice.

Rabbi Abraham Pinter, the principal, stressed that he did not advise 
girls to boycott Shakespeare but respected their views. "I think this is 
very positive," he said. "I'm really proud our kids are prepared to take 
the consequences of their convictions."

Last year, girls at the school were on average five terms ahead of 
14-year-olds across the rest of England in maths, English and science. 
But the school's ranking fell from first to 274th in this year's table.

Simon Gibbons, of the National Association for the Teaching of English, 
said he did not believe that the play was prejudiced against Jews, but 
added: "It is noble of the school to take the view that the individual 
pupils' views are more important than its league table position."

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.