Essay on William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice

1577 Words Dec 15th, 2015 null Page
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 Shakespeare uses the scene of Shylock’s forced conversion to Christianity to show the hypocrisy of forced conversion of a religious group by Christians.
The Jews were historically seen as infidels to the Christian world. Erich Kahler explains in his article that the conflict between Jews and Christians came about in the 6th century AD because of the “struggle of faith against works”, and because of the Christians belief in Christ as the Messiah (109-110). The definition of the word infidel means not believing in the same thing as the believer. So, the Christians as explained by Kahler are in conflict with the infidels, the Jews. The Christians belief in faith more than in works caused tensions because works is something that the Jews…

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