How does the modern audience respond to Shakesphere ? (The Merchant Of Venice)

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                                                                               Saturday 06th November

Name: Sufyan Mussood

Since the time of Shakespeare,         The play “Merchant of Venice” has had a dramatic effect on the modern audience today. In the 16th century, Jews were completely disliked, & Jews were not allowed to live in England unless they had converted to Christianity.

Jews who practised their own religion were banned from England. To modern audiences, this is “Anti-Semitic”, so this play completely shows the worse part of Christians, from beginning to end.  It changes the fact that Jews had the same rights as Christians did, also today’s world doesn’t care about the race of a person, everyone has the same right.  

Some of the audiences in the 16th century, believed that Jews were at a lower stage than them, and they only believed this because the Jews were a different (“different” referred to as “wrong “for Christians who lived in the 16th century), religion they believed they were not people, like them.

The play Merchant of Venice shows the evil side of the Jews. The character’s name is “Shylock”. He is the character of evil doing; he is also the character that Shakespeare chose to represent a Jewish character. As a Jew, he represents the race as being wicked, evil etc.  

Then there is the innocent and rich “Antonio” (Merchant), who is a Christian, and is a complete Anti-Semitec. Antonio’s character is wrong, he hates Jews, he loves being regarded as rich, and would do anything to make Shylock’s life a misery. Antonio hates Jews; this is proved in Act 1 Scene 3 where Antonio says, “The Hebrew will turn Christian, he grows kind”, this is blatant racism shown against the Jews. The story progresses, a new character is introduced, Portia. Portia play’s a major role in trying to persuade Shylock to be merciful to Antonio, as the story continues. Basannio, the loyal friend of Antonio also tries to persuade Shylock to show some sympathy towards Antonio, but is not shown. Portia and Bassanio are the “Romeo & Julliet” of the play.

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In Act 1, Scene 3, Shylock talks about how Antonio mocked him, spat at him and made a fool of him. Antonio hearing this turns reluctant to ask Shylock for money, but as he knows he can’t do anything else, he tells the truth and says in Act 1 Scene 3 “I am like to call thee so again, to spit on thee again.” This shows how much hatred Antonio has for Shylock. It also shows how much Antonio cares for the money, it shows that he rather hate him more, than take his money. This scene made Shakespeare’s ...

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