Christians And The Samaritans In Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice

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Christians and the crusades. Jews and the Samaritans. Muslims and terrorists. Every religion has moments in their history in which they go against the basic teachings in their holy text. These moments in history are captured through the art forms that were popular during or after the time they were happening. For example, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a play that captures these moments of hypocrisy as it concerns the Jews and the Christians. Many critics look at this play in a new historicism critique. For example, Nicole Coonradt looks at how the anti-Judaism in the play was a result of the Protestant-Catholic feud going on during the time of Shakespeare (74). This paper will look at Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and how …show more content…
Shylock had no choice but to accept his conversion and the so-called mercy of his benefactors. He was forced to accept his conversion by a mercy and Christ he didn’t believe in. This is demonstrated by the Duke, who says, “That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits, I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it” (4.1). In this the word difference is important to look at because the Duke is indicating to Shylock that there is a difference between the two. That difference is the principle of Christian mercy, which Shylock doesn’t really believe in because he doesn’t believe in a Christ or his attribute. Furthermore, from what the Duke says at the end it can be gleamed as a form of arrogance in Christianity. He tells Shylock that he is acquitted before Shylock was even judged, showing that in the Duke’s eyes, he was already judged as a Jew for his disbelief in the attribute of mercy and Jesus Christ. However, while Shylock was forced to accept this attribute of mercy it is also important to notice he was forced to convert to Christianity as well, just like others of his

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