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Discuss in which Stereotype and prejudice is presented in the play The Merchant of Venice and explain why these would have repealed to the Elizabethan people?

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Discuss in which Stereotype and prejudice is presented in the play The Merchant of Venice and explain why these would have repealed to the Elizabethan people? In Elizabethan England, many people were anti-Semitic, driven by their heart, having hatred of each others religions. In the early middle ages, Jews were accused of exploiting Christians. They were actually banned from England in 1290, and were not allowed back into England several decades after 'The Merchant of Venice' had been written. There were still a few Jews living in England despite the ban. A few of them were tolerated. Only being a few they were out numbered, imagining if one somehow got into a fight with a Christian, the Christian would have much more support then the Jew. The Elizabethans were ignorant of the Jewish culture. Shakespeare knowing that the majority of the population was Christian had to write something that they all thought was going on. So he decided to write the Merchant of Venice, in which there are lots of stereotypes and prejudice of people. The play also became very popular in Germany, when Hitler was in power. As you probably know Hitler did not like the Jewish community and many other that did not come under his opinion of a pure race. Due to all these reasons to make his plays successful in the Elizabethan period he had to involve lots of stereotypes and prejudice of a Jew in his play. This would make most of the Christian population interested in the play. Now a day these sorts of things would not be right, It would be absolutely wrong. Some schools across the U.K. have refused to study this for their G.C.S.E in English. They are so much against what the story is about they are willing to lose their coursework marks. In the Elizabethan time this would have been perfectly all right, crowds would have laughed at it, but now a day it is not. ...read more.


This is the first man Portia has likes the looks of but he is not all that educated, the only language he knows is English, this causing a big communication problem. This is the stereotype of an English man coming out here, good looks but not the brains to go with it. The third and last reply I am looking at is the German, the Duck of Saxony's Nephew. This is what Portia says about him, 'Very vilely in the morning when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk.' She says that he is drunk all of the time, when he is not he is little worse then a man when he is he is little better than a beast. He stays drunk most of the time. This would have been the stereotype of a German back then, very drunk. Lots of stereotypes come out here. After seeing all of the men Nerrisa who is Portia's servant started to talk about Bassanio. Nerrisa said, 'He of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon the best deserving a fair lady.' Then Portia goes on to reply, 'I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.' Out of all of the men both Nerrisa and Portia have only good things to say about Bassanio. Portia likes him too and says that he is worthy of her praise. Now I am going to compare this with what Bassanio says about Portia to Antonio. Bassanio says, 'In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair.' He is saying that there is a rich heiress who is very good looking, he tells Antonio about her because he wants to go and guess which casquet is the right one 'I have a mind presages me such thrift' Bassanio feels that he is going to make a huge profit if he gets to marry her. ...read more.


This would be impossible. Then Shylock settles for the money, that Bassanio again offers to him, 'Give me my principal, and let me go.' But Portia does not even allow this in the end the Shylock gets nothing, 'Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, To be so taken at thy peril, Jew' this is what Portia does, Shylock who was blood thirsty gets nothing when he could have setteled for three times the Ducats he gave to Antonio. In my opinion Shylocks life is now finished, there is nothing more there is for him, for he has lost all of his jewels, his money and his only child Jessica. In the begging you would feel a bit sorry for Shylock but after this scene the court case scene, I think that everyone's opinions change towards him. Now he looks a villain who is blood thirsty, he wants his revenge so bad. In this play and many others of Shakespeare's books, he uses lots and lots of writing techniques for example, he uses Similes, Aside, Imagery, Metaphor, Euphemisms. These are the things which make Shakespeare's stories and plays much better than any other writers. In conclusion I say that there is lots of Stereotype, Prejudice and even racism in this play, but there is a reason. To make the play successful he had to include these things in his play, other wise the audience would not be interested. Remember this was played over several hundred years ago, there were no seats in the theatre, people used to come on their holidays and they needed something which will make them feel exited. The main reason why it suited the audience is the time period it was set in. The reasons for it becoming so popular both in Hitler's reign and also the Elizabethan era is because of the stereotype it has of Shylock who is a Jew. It shows him as being a money scrounger greedy for money. 1 Ikhlas Raja 10s5 9/04/03 Candidate No: 9297 ...read more.

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