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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: July ::
Pacino as Shylock in the Park
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0317  Monday, 26 July 2010

From:         John Drakakis <
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Date:         July 24, 2010 7:38:02 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0308  Pacino as Shylock in the Park
Comment:      RE: SHK 21.0308  Pacino as Shylock in the Park

John Kennedy makes an interesting point:

What if Shylock and Morocco were to 'trade places'? In my forthcoming Arden 3 
edition of the play I speculate that the parts may have been doubled, making Salanio 
and Salarino's comments at 3.1. more than simply metaphorical.

On Portia's 'merchant/Jew' comment, this is much more complicated than it seems, and 
I suspect has its roots in an oblique cultural reference. In the England of the late 
16th century usurers were Christians and not Jews -- a standard complaint that 
appears in a number of usury tracts of the period. Of course Portia is pretending to 
be a lawyer here, and this may simply be a 'realism effect' since she is not 
supposed to know what has been going on between the Jew and Antonio / Bassanio. We 
know that the Jew habitually wears a 'gaberdine' (a loose fitting robe that could 
easily cover the change of costume that would be required if the actor did double as 
Morocco, but the one thing that he would have difficulty in changing quickly was his 
facial colour). The Jew's flesh is 'jet', we are told, compared to the 'ivory' of 
his daughter. Metaphorical, yes, but also possibly literal.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

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