Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice as Christian Comedy

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Although modern interpretations of The Merchant of Venice often focus on the play’s characterization and treatment of the Jewish moneylender Shylock, both the play’s title and plot suggest that Shakespeare’s focus was on the Christian merchant Antonio. Through a careful reading and discussion of Shakespeare’s play in conjunction with selections both from Christopher Marlowe’s roughly contemporaneous The Jew of Malta and from the New Testament, this course will explore Shakespeare’s exaltation of “graceful Christianity” in both the major and minor plot threads of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays.

Texts
  • Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
  • Marlowe, The Jew of Malta
  • New Testament
TAUGHT: WINTER 2013, SEPTEMBER 2016, DECEMBER 2016, JANUARY 2017