Jews, Christians, and Commerce: How the three are represented, varyingly, in both the Merchant of Venice and the Jew of Malta.
Kitch, Aaron. "Shylock's Sacred Nation." Shakespeare Quarterly 59.2 (2008): 131-55. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/a/akitch/pdf/sacred_nation.pdf>.
This text highlights the historical significance of the Jewish merchant and moneylender to society in Shakespeare and Marlowe’s era as well as today. It traces the influence of the Jewish nation based on the two most prominent historical Jew’s: Barabbas and Shylock. The text incites a problem with our typical understanding of the portrayal of the Jew based on negative stereotypes and suggests a more positive outlook on the historical significance of the Jew. Kitch highlights how both plays “sinuate Jews within discourses and practices of early modern political economy.” This article works to identify the Jew in the mercantile economy and surmise the ideology expressed by both Marlow and Shakespeare.
Kitch repeats multiple times throughout his article, in a common theme, that a state based on commerce is much more stable than one based on war. He also seems to believe that the greatest attractor of business is freedom. These values are strongly tied to our culture and it is easy to see the importance of the Jewish figure in developing the commercial economy we know and are founded on today. The Jew was beneficial to the economy in that he brought merchandise to the economy and created economic stability, which overrode religious differences.
I recently read both The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of