|Is Shylock such an antagonist?|
The next part of my fragmented analysis of The Merchant of Venice was going to be about the use and importance of oaths in this play. However, there's not as much there as I originally thought, so I'll just finish up with interesting depictions of Shylock in the BBC version, so I'll focus a little more on the video presentation. Sadly my technical skills haven't leveled up enough to embed the clip of the video I wanted to put here, but at the end of Act III Scene I, Shylock speaks with his Jewish friend Tubal about the turn of events concerning his lost daughter and money. The main action that caught my attention was at the end of the dialogue, where Shylock rends his coat. Having a bit of Old Testament knowledge, and doing a little standard Google/Wikipedia searching, I was reminded that rending one's clothes is a normal act in Jewish culture upon hearing the death of a loved one. Shylock's daughter Jessica basically eloped with a Christian, which according to this adaptation is her death to him, probably in a spiritual way along with the fact that the religious differences between Jews and Christians weren't easily or even realistically settled.
|Shylock rending his garment|
It makes me wonder, why did Shakespeare choose to write this play? Jews weren't allowed in England during his lifetime, so why this? Was he going for exotic factor, like he does in other plays? Or was he bringing up religious issues of his day?