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Shakespeare and the Art of Politics

June 29, 1991

Shylock is, in his vengefulness and inhumanity, far more like the Christians in this play than like the other Jews portrayed, his daughter Jessica and his kindly friend Tubal. All we know about his dead wife, Leah, is that she loved him as he loved her. So far as the text indicates, Shylock turned to murderous treachery and premeditated revenge not out of any innate Jewish tendency to evil but in clear reaction to the dehumanizing brutality of his Christian persecutors.

W. S. MARKS

Associate professor of English

UC Santa Barbara

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