Merchant of Venice, Scene 1

William Shakespeare

Beyond his art and philosophy we should also wonder at the contemporary nature of Shakespeare’s works.  Four centuries have passed and yet still we have questions of power, politics and racism to be answered to satisfaction.  It seems miraculous that his words survived let alone his body, such was the venom of his criticism of Establishment in both person and spirit.  In the words below he makes a clear statement in support of humanity, to illustrate regardless of race, creed or faith we are one.  Christian, Jew, Muslim or Atheist….we all bleed.

“To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,
it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.”

ispals

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