Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Favorite Quote from "Shakespeare and the Jews"

In his "Conclusion," Shapiro summarizes his view of The Merchant of Venice: “I have tried to show that much of the play’s vitality can be attributed to the ways in which it scrapes against a bedrock of beliefs about the racial, national, sexual, and religious difference of others. I can think of no other literary work that does so as unrelentingly and as honestly. To avert our gaze from what the play reveals about the relationship between cultural myths and peoples’ identities will not make irrational and exclusionary attitudes disappear. Indeed, these darker impulses remain so elusive, so hard to identify … that only in instances like productions of this play do we get to glimpse these cultural faultlines. This is why censoring the play is always more dangerous than staging it.” (p.228)

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