Anti-Semitism And Racism In The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare
This implies racism and anti-semitism because you should not have to force someone to change religion unless they are being persecuted. In court Antonio suggests that Shylock should “presently become a Christian” (Act IV, Scene i). This displays that they for part of his punishment he had to become a Christian. This emboldens anti-semitism because it shows that Jews have little power and should just be forced to be Christian. When Shylock hears of his punishment he says: “Nay, take my life” (Act IV, Scene i). By saying this, Shylock acts as though he would rather die than become a christian. However, they continue with the sentence, which is quite harsh towards Shylock. Therefore, anti-semitism is encouraged because they forced Shylock to become Christian even if he would have rather …show more content…
This point of view is reasonable because during a major part of the play, Antonio and Shylock barter for what the price should be if Antonio doesn’t his money back in time. When they come to a conclusion, Antonio says, “[Shylock]...he grows kind” (Act I, scene iii). This shows that Antonio began to think higher of Shylock and this was not an act of anti-semitism. However, this is incorrect because this may have been the only time Antonio was kind to Shylock in the whole play. The reasons above are far more frequent and convincing. Therefore, Shakespeare still encouraged the racism and anti-semitism of the time.
In conclusion, Shakespeare did encourage the anti-semitism and racism of the time. He did this through Portia being racist towards the Prince of Morocco, implying that neither princes were good enough to marry Portia because of their ethnicity and complexion, having the characters call Shylock “Jew”, which was disrespectful and by forcing Shylock to become Christian as punishment. Through these uses, Shakespeare strengthened the people’s thinking of other religions and ethnicities in the