Anti Semitism Essay examples

Submitted By duffielddevils
Words: 1210
Pages: 5

Daniel Barenboim stated “Anti-Semitism has no historical, political and certainly no philosophical origins. Anti-Semitism is a disease.” I thought that clearly related to the anti Semitism that is so evident in the play. Shylocks daughter Jessica is the only other Jewish character in this story but she wants nothing to do with Shylock or Judaism and is quite willing to give it up in order to marry Lorenzo. This suggests that in this period it is negative to be known as a Jew. Throughout the Merchant of Venice, Shylock is regarded in a poor light, disrespected by many of the characters, mistreated and robbed of all his money. Antonio is an intolerable character who deliberately tortures Shylock because he is a Jew, to the point that he makes him change his religion. Although the Merchant of Venice depicts the negative attitude to Jews that was common at the time, Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic characters are deeply disliked by the reader which suggests that this was not intended to be an anti-Semitic play. Jessica wants nothing to do with her father and more importantly she does not want to be Jewish. Shylock’s daughter Jessica hates her father and is intent on marrying Lorenzo and to do so is quite prepared to convert to Christianity. Jessica’s comments to Lancelot “I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian” (3. 5. 55-56). Her words clearly reveal how little she cares about being Jewish and looks forward to her conversion. I can compare this to my thesis because Jessica was not intestinally being anti-Semitic but she made it seem as if it is horrible to be a jew and that is it is because she is jewish her life is in ruins and she needs a way out. Jessica hatred of her religion and father is linked to the way Jews are viewed in the town. It is likely that Jessica’s hatred of her father leads her to want to remove all connections to him. “Farewell, and if my fortune be not crost, I have a father, you a daughter, lost.”( 2. 5. 54-55). Jessica clearly has no feelings for her father and wills the end of their relationship. From this quote you cant tell that Jessica does not care for her father and cannot wait to leave him and her religion.
Shylock is disliked by all characters in the play and they take pleasure in his suffering. Shylock is hated for being a jew and wanting to make peace. in the conversation between Antonio and Shylock in Act 1 scene 3 line 99 to 151 they are discussing the terms in which the money will be given. Shylock reacts with saying “I would be friends with you… and forget the shames you have shamed me with / Supply your present wants and take no doit Of usance for my moneys” (1.3.137-39), showing that he is willing to compromise with Antonio. this conversation shows how little Antonio cared for jewish people and nothing shylock did or said would change his mind. Shylock made a proposition which was almost like a treaty but Antonio said he would still spit in his face and look down to him because Antonio thinks he is better than shylock. This proves my thesis because it shows how Shakespeare made this anti semitic when Antonio said nothing you do will change my opinion on jews, Shakespeare was not trying to be anti-Semitic he just wrote in the play what would happen during that time period and how jews were mistreated even if the were trying to do good. In addition shylocks arrogance and nagging earns him a great deal of hatred. In argument between bassanio Antonio and Shylock bassanio says “For thy three thousand ducats here is six.” (4. 1. 85). Antonio answers while stating “If every ducat in six thousand ducats Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them. I would have my bond.” (4. 1. 86-8) Antonio says that “ [It is impossible to change make a jew change his mind]… you may as well do anything most hard as seek to soften that than which what’s harder. [it the hardest thing imaginable]” (4.1. 71- 80). Here in this argument you read that Shylock is arrogant and does not