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The Merchant of Venice - Anti-Christian or Anti-Semitec?

            Today, Jews are widely accepted and are part of modern society. However, the acceptance of Jews is something that is relatively new. During the 1500s, Jews were not treated so kindly. The maltreatment can be seen in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Since Jews are not persecuted anymore, the play has been interpreted in different ways. Some interpretations portray the Jewish character Shylock as a victim losing all his money. While others show him a villain out for Christian blood. In Michael Radford's film The Merchant of Venice, Shylock and other Jews are shown being spat on, neglected and treated as second class citizens in a way that makes the viewer feel sympathetic for them. However, when reading the original text, there is almost no sympathy created when he is mocked or treated poorly. Most of it simply feels comedic. Although the play is very anti-semitic, the play is also anti-christian. The play openly belittles Jews, but it also questions many of the actions that the Christians do. The play also asks the questions of whether or not Jews and Christians are truly different. The play has taken on these different forms because of changing societies. These changes have allowed the play to put more emphasis on the anti-christian along with the anti-semitic. .
             One passage that is anti-christian is when Shylock points out the hypocritical actions of the Christians. This passage takes place when Shylock is trying to get his pound of Antonio's flesh. The Christians demand that Shylock, "the Jew must be merciful" (Pg 153, Line 187) because that is right thing to do. Shylock, upon hearing this is infuriated and tells them how they have no moral high ground to be telling him to be merciful. Shylock has been forced to live as a second class citizen under these Christians. They have never shown him mercy. They never think twice when they mock or belittle him. The Christians even have slaves that they treat "like.

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