Thursday, May 12, 2005

Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is Anti Semitic

Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is Anti Semitic

At least the 2004 movie version is. It's a story about a Jewish elder, played by Pacino, who loans money to gentiles. These are the same gentiles who spit on him and mock his people and his faith in public. But business is business. So Pacino loans 3000 duckets (check the conversion rate) to Jeremy Irons, one of the spitters from days earlier who hit Pacino right in the face. But that didn't stop Pacino from loaning 3000 duckets to this man and get this; interest free. All Irons has to do is pay him back the exact amount Pacino just loaned him. If he can't, Irons is default and Pacino gets to collect something else of his choosing. Which happens to be a pound of Irons's flesh, but that's besides the point.

So of course Irons defaults (wouldn't make an Shakespearean-worthy story if he paid Pacino back and be done) on his interest free loan and Pacino comes to collect. Pacino's a little pissed off because:

a) His daughter just ran away with some gentile, a man in Irons's household or staff no less. Pacino, this lonely man who had no one but his daughter for family and she is now gone and took with her a part of her father's fortune.

b) In Venice during this time period, Jews are locked up in an area at night known as the 'geto' to keep their kind from wandering doing who knows what. And if they have to wander out, they are required to wear red hats to indicate their race. Sound familiar? Sieg Heil anyone?

So Irons, who agreed to borrow the money interest free and now can't pay it back, doesn't want to pay what they agreed upon should he default on the loan. What does the supposedly unreasonable Jewish elder Pacino do? He takes Irons to court. Duke Wapner will settle this.

But by now, everyone in town hates Pacino for pressing Irons and taking Irons to court. During the proceedings, a person with an understanding of Venice law (read: lawyer) was able to use a loophole to turn the situation against Pacino and not only stopped Pacino from collecting but actually ended up ruining him financially and ruining his reputation with the same law right there during the proceedings. Irons is free to go. A lawyer is praised and thanked - a lawyer who is seen as a hero and a Jewish elder the Devil! Pacino is ruined. All the white people celebrate, have a party, tease each other, retire to their bed chambers to knock the boots and live happily ever after. End of story.

What an odd sense of justice.