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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: SHAKESPEARE AND ANTI-SEMITISM

Grade Level:

9-12

Overview:

According to author John Gross, "never has one character of the stage provoked such controversy or achieved such infamy as Shakespeare's enigmatic Shylock." Designed for students who have already read The Merchant of Venice, this exercise uses the play to get students to learn about anti-Semitism in Shakespeare's time, compare it to 20th-century anti-Semitism, and decide for themselves whether Shakespeare was "guilty" of furthering and perpetuating antisemitic stereotypes.

Time Frame:

3 hours

Objectives:

Extensions:

Reproducible student sheet for this exercise