The Merchant of Venice | Leo Kirschbaum

This literature criticism consists of approximately 23 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 6,880 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
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Leo Kirschbaum

SOURCE: "Shylock in the City of God," in Character and Characterization in Shakespeare, Wayne State University Press, 1962, pp. 7-32.

In the following essay, Kirschbaum analyzes what the words "Christian" and "Jew" meant to an Elizabethan audience and argues that Shylock is not meant to be Shakespeare's portrayal of a "real Jew " but rather resemble the Elizabethan Puritan, and is intended to symbolize the anti-social traits which threatened conventional, Anglican sensibilities.

The Merchant of Venice is a fantasy—but it is, at bottom, a serious fantasy. Its characters are not deeply drawn; its plot is providential; its atmosphere is unrealistic—but the conflict of values it illustrates was important to Shakespeare's own time. Difficult as it may be, let us suspend our own values, our contemporary basic decencies, if you wish, and strive to become members of a 1596 audience. Let us, in short, see what...

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This section contains 6,880 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Leo Kirschbaum