So, we've been seeing a lot of Shakespeare lately -- JULIUS CAESAR a while back, and more recently TIMON OF ATHENA (his worst play) and MACBETH (perhaps his best), and now THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
I was of two minds about whether to go to this one. On the one hand, I remember having enjoyed the Portia scenes. On the other, the parts dealing with the Merchant himself, Shylock, are deeply racist. Kind of like reading a HUCK FINN where the narrator is of the same mindset as Pap Finn. I didn't know if I'd be able to take it.
Now that I've seen it, it's not the fairy tale challenge + screwball comedy of the Portia scenes but the nastiness of the antisemitism that stays with me. I found myself wondering what it'd be like if Shylock were black instead of Jewish. Would that be even harder to take?
At any rate, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to bring myself to watch this one again.
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