YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

February 13, 2018

Shylock and antisemitism

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:50 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have a new insight on antisemitism (https://clarespark.com/2013/05/11/index-to-blogs-on-antisemitism-2/) that also illuminates what passes for liberalism today: If you read THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, the contrast between the evil Shylock and the “rational” Christians is drawn out. What Shylock stands for is legality and contract (i.e., the honoring of civil obligations, like most of today’s conservatives standing up for lawn and order and supporting Israel).

The Christians (Antonio, Bassanio and Portia) are all about mercy and forgiveness, looking backwards to Judaism that stressed compassion (love/mercy/not holding grudges) and forgiveness, but foreshadowing the Christian appropriation of Judaism in the forms of Christian Socialism and social democracy. (See https://clarespark.com/2012/10/07/christian-socialism-as-precursor-to-orwell/; https://clarespark.com/2011/07/16/disraelis-contribution-to-social-democracy/)

Shakespeare’s play regarding Shylock is starkly controversial, but the contrast Shakespeare suggested and that (Christian) Shakespeare scholar David Bevington drew out for me between liberals and conservatives is rarely drawn.

Have we not gotten beyond late medieval England?

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