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The Merchant of Venice
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The Merchant of Venice

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B. P. Rinehart (ken_moten) | 72 comments I just finished this play and...ok. Here are my thoughts on it.

Has anybody else read it and want to add something?


Pasha (PPasha) | 2 comments On such a night...


message 3: by Martin (last edited Sep 23, 2012 02:16AM) (new)

Martin | 18 comments Hi Ken, sorry you haven't had much of a response here, but the S fans group has busy and quiet seasons, and now seems to be really quiet. I enjoyed reading your review. It raises so many points (as you confess yourself) that I'm not going to air all my opinions, but I did want to add one thing that I thought might interest you. You say,

"After the the public outcry that British Jews raised at Dickens over Shylock, no other British author really dared to put "the evil Jew" in lit."

-- and I think you cannot have looked at George du Maurier's Trilby of 1895. This book is very different from Dickens (or of course S) in its treatment of its Jewish character, for its latent anti-semitism. Svengali is described as a "filthy Jew" and "the worst example of his race" and so on, and these passages are quite embarrassing to read nowadays, and may indeed account for the novel's loss of popularity. The 1895 edition has du Maurier's illustrations, including a hook nosed Svengali with eight legs at the centre of a spider's web. Compared to Trilby, Oliver Twist is quite inoffensive. One could argue that Fagin's villainy is no more a slur upon being Jewish that Bill Sykes' villainy is a slur upon being Cockney. In S it is a little different, since we are expected to associate Judaism with being unforgiving, hence Benedick's comment about Beatrice,

"if I do not love her, I am a Jew"

-- excised from the Branagh film version, though not, interestingly, from the 1984 BBC version.


B. P. Rinehart (ken_moten) | 72 comments Martin, thank you for pointing out Trilby, I have qualified my statement in the review thus. As for the rest of my review, I stand by it. Nothing changes overnight but I feel Fagin was the beginning of the end...


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna (SylviaGrant) | 9 comments Hello!!! I would like to know Portia's character. Just a quick summery would be just excellent.


B. P. Rinehart (ken_moten) | 72 comments Anna wrote: "Hello!!! I would like to know Portia's character. Just a quick summery would be just excellent."

Well SPOILER for anyone who hasn't seen doesn't want to know:


Portia is a woman who wants to marry her lover but her father died and in his will he has a...most unusual riddle that her suitor would have to solve before marrying her. She also happens to be somewhat knowledgeable in legal proceedings and this is very important in the plays pivotal trial. And really that's it; as abridged a summary as I can give. I hope that helps.


message 7: by Anna (new)

Anna (SylviaGrant) | 9 comments Ken wrote: "Anna wrote: "Hello!!! I would like to know Portia's character. Just a quick summery would be just excellent."

Well SPOILER for anyone who hasn't seen doesn't want to know:


Portia is a woman wh..."


Thanks Ken!!! I just finished a quiz about Shakespearean heroines and I ended up as Portia and I was just wondering what type of heroine she was.


Pasha (PPasha) | 2 comments Martin wrote: "Hi Ken, sorry you haven't had much of a response here, but the S fans group has busy and quiet seasons, and now seems to be really quiet. I enjoyed reading your review. It raises so many points (as..."

Shakes was very well disposed to Jessica in Merchant.


B. P. Rinehart (ken_moten) | 72 comments I am quite curious to see the full Al Pachino version from 2004 since I have only seen scenes from it. I was not wholy impressed with the 1980 version though.


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