The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1184  Wednesday, 6 July 2005

From:           Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Jul 2005 13:37:08 +0000
Subject: 16.1180 New and Improved Lear/ Merchant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1180 New and Improved Lear/ Merchant

Bill Arnold writes:

"Christians...were not/are not into interpreting Old Testament law, all
of it, particularly blood sacrifice before the altar, and other OT law,
literally....The Holy Bible is the New Testament as it refers to God's
Old Testament and in particular how the law of the New transcended the Old."

Shylock, looming with knife outstretched over the "tainted wether"
Anthonio, recalls the impending slaughter of Isaac by Father Abraham,
his hand stayed by God's Portia-like angel of mercy. The Hebrew God of
Old forever bans the pagan Elder way of human sacrifice. That ram in the
thicket there will suffice. And so, Isaac, like Anthonio, is spared, but
at whose expense?

Blood sacrifice of the untainted Son lies at the root of the New faith
in direct defiance of the Hebrew God of Old--a Fall back to the Elder
way of human slaughter. Who in the play incarnates that sacrificial ram?
Who is here the Suffering Servant ("for suffr'ance is the badge of all
our tribe")? Who alone is spat upon with disdain like Jesus en route to
the altar of the Cross?
Who but the warped soul "not bid for love," the Alien within, the
archetypal Other-- despoiled, de-stoned, Christianized by his Venetian
Saviours. The pale Galilean has conquered yet again.
A sad new wether will roam the streets of Venice tonight.

Joe Egert

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