Friday, June 15, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 19.36 (William Shakespeare)

The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare, William
The Merchant of Venice

This is one of the first Shakespeare plays I read. I think Julius Caesar was the first and this was the second or third. I definitely read it in high school and again in college.

I want to say that I saw the film adaptation, starring Al Pacino. I definitely have a memory of its having come out in theaters, but looking at the IMDB page does not evoke any memories.

Hmmm...I think I may have seen it performed at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in Buffalo. I just asked Lori, who says she was pregnant at the time it played last summer. She thinks I may have gone with our friends, Geoff and Donna. I remember going to see a play with them, so maybe it was that.

I also remember studying the play in a political science class in college. We talked about how a mercantile society's values differed from those of a monarchy or a republic. Interestingly, we did not talk about how a monarchical society represents a mercantile society in art vis a vis a character like Shylock.

I guess that would have been too political for a political science class.

from The Merchant of Venice



SHYLOCK 



To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,

it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and

hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,

mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my

bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine

enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath

not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,

dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with

the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject

to the same diseases, healed by the same means,

warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as

a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?

if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison

us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not

revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will

resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,

what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian

wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by

Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you

teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I

will better the instruction.

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