less known plays because the original manuscripts were lost but the
play did re-surface in the 1600s. In Shakespeare's time there was only
one Jew in England, he name was Rodrigo Lopez. He was the Queen's
Physician and was only half Jew. He was tried and executed.
Shakespeare probably never met a Jew so he may have got his attitudes
towards Jews from his experiences of them; he may also have got ideas
and inspiration from the one other play about Jews at the time called
`The Jew of Malta'. Christopher Marlowe who was a contempary of
Shakespeare wrote it. Marlowe was stabbed to death in a pub.
This play was a controversial play when it was written and it still is
now. It was controversial in Shakespeare's time because Jew's were not
well liked and this is supported by the fact that the only Jew in
England was executed. This play is arguably even more controversial
now because we live in a post-holocaust world. The holocaust changed
people's views towards Jews because they were treated like sub-humans
and they were massacred by the millions.
The genre of this play is hard to decide because in Shakespeare's time
it would have been a comedy because people would have wanted to see
Shylock lose everything because he was a Jew but now it is more of a
tragedy because our attitudes towards to Jews have changed. The
Merchant of V...
... middle of paper ...
...h kept the audience guessing all the time, he also used a
different dramatic devices to build the tension which worked. The
tension worked because it kept the audience guessing about what would
happen next. Also it helped to put across Shakespeare's views and
perspective on Elizabethan society.
I think the play has relevance to the modern audience because it shows
a change in attitudes over time and it also shows how one event like
the holocaust can completely change our attitudes and women today can
see how lucky they are to live in a society which respects their
opinions and lets them speak their minds. There are also lessons to be
learnt such as not to make bonds that you cannot fill and that if you
behave maliciously towards people it will catch up with you, they will
treat you in the same way if the tables turn.
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