Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice combines a light-hearted romance with a dark, sinister melodrama. We will consider the play’s delightful language, intriguing plot, and lively characterizations. But the Bard also raises serious moral issues-the problems of prejudice and discrimination-ones we have yet to solve. We must decide: is Shylock, the famous Jewish money lender a victim or a villain in vowing to legally murder his Christian enemy? To better understand the play, in addition to our discussions, group members will read aloud parts from the script, and we will view selections from the video of a live performance. Why has the play sometimes been banned? Was Shakespeare anti-Semitic? Did Shylock receive justice? What moral lessons might we learn from the play?
GROUP LEADER: Harvey Fenigsohn has taught at the college and secondary level, including 20 years at Bancroft School and was awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Grant. He has published in local and national publications and has taught numerous WISE courses.
BOOK (required): any copy of The Merchant of Venice.
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)Assumption College, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609508-767-7513