Shakespeare's Prejudices: Shrews and Jews

Mandel Hall

The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice are two of Shakespeare’s most controversial and least loved (though very often performed) plays. While both of them are, by genre and intention, comedies, they often do not strike modern and contemporary audiences as such. The aim of this talk is not to dismiss concerns with misogyny and anti-Semitism as historically inappropriate or anachronistic, but to see what difference to our judgments some historical contextualizing and close reading can make. The plays will look rather different after these operations are performed on them, though they may still remain—as they probably should—potentially disturbing.

Humanities Day 2012 Keynote: Shakespeare's Prejudices: Shrews & Jews