Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What's His Motivation? ...

Every once in a while, I have a good thought. I don't know where they come from, but I'm glad when they arrive.

English Teacher Dave wrote yesterday and mentioned that he went to see "The Merchant of Venice" at the Chicago Shakespeare Company on Navy Pier, and " there is no reason for me to ever see that play again. There is no way any right-thinking person could not be offended by the profound prejudice of that play."

I replied, "Do you think maybe the profound prejudice was Shakespeare's point? To hold a mirror up to the absurdity of human behavior? To purposely disgust us - or shame us - into behaving differently? Just thinking out loud."

Even as I wrote that last night, I was thinking, "Huh. Where'd that come from?"

I saw the Al Pacino film version a few months ago. Al and Jeremy Irons. Hello! Two of my all-time favorites. Maybe I was too busy watching it as a movie to really think about the meaning of the words they were speaking.

But now that I've had my thought, I've become very fond of it. And so I open the topic up for discussion, among all the Shakespeare scholars I'm sure frequent this space!


Anonymous Doreen said...

This is interesting .... maybe my questions need to be posed to E.T. Dave ... was he offended by the prejudice? Does he think it does not exist then or now? He is an ENGLISH TEACHER!! Has he not read this work and analyzed it many times as a student himself and with his students? Was he surprised? Was he disgusted? I think being offended is the whole point ... I have not read this work since high school ... But I am thinking the whole point is we all bleed, we all are human ...

9:36 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

E.T. Dave replied to my suggestion and said he had never thought of that before. Ah, discourse. So yes, he's read it many times, and seen it many times, but simply never thought of the play the same way I did. But he's thinking about it now.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Important piece I forgot above, in response to Doreen's comment: Yes, of course he was offended by the prejudice, but he was more offended by the audience at the play, as he wrote: "Shylock is getting reduced to abject misery and people are chuckling along.  Revolting."

10:19 AM  

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