The Merchant of Venice | Critical Essay by D. M. Cohen

This literature criticism consists of approximately 22 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 6,372 words
(approx. 22 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by D. M. Cohen

SOURCE: "The Jew and Shylock," in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring, 1980, pp. 53-63.

In the following essay, Cohen contends that The Merchant of Venice is an anti-Semitic work not simply due to the characterization of Shylock but in the way it equates "Jewishness" with wickedness.

Current criticism notwithstanding, The Merchant of Venice seems to me a profoundly and crudely anti-Semitic play. The debate about its implications has usually been between inexpert Jewish readers and spectators who discern an anti-Semitic core and literary critics (many of them Jews) who defensively maintain that the Shakespearean subtlety of mind transcends anti-Semitism. The critics' arguments, by now familiar, center on the subject of Shylock's essential humanity, point to the imperfections of the Christians, and remind us that Shakespeare was writing in a period when there were so few Jews in England that...

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This section contains 6,372 words
(approx. 22 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by D. M. Cohen