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Let him look to his bond: he was wont to call me usurer;-let him look to his scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine I am a Jew: Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, In “The Merry Wives of Windsor" we have— ScENE I.] THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Table of contents
- The folkie and the Yiddishist could be friends
- The Poems of Emma Lazarus, by Emma Lazarus
- Seven quotes to reflect on this Rosh Hashanah
- The Story Behind the Poem on the Statue of Liberty
This lists a succession of quotidian things, at once banal and yet pregnant with meaning. The tone is studiedly neutral, like a case study, but the atmosphere is wholly magical, like a tale of enchantment: it is a reinvention of romanticism. Orwell, who had his doubts about some things in the poem, nevertheless thought it the best bit of writing to emerge from that war; but, convinced of its bad faith, Auden suppressed it.
The folkie and the Yiddishist could be friends
Auden considers these five poems to be trash which he is ashamed to have written. He blamed no one but himself for his failings, but he associated these poetic misdemeanours particularly with his adoption of Yeats in the s as a model for memorable public utterance. More temperately, when he addressed Yeats in the great elegy of , newly arrived in America and already determined not to return home, Auden was self-consciously composing a poem that announced a turning point in his career.
This is an extremely partial view of Byron, needless to say, and even of Don Juan , which is full of all sorts of things beside lightness; but Auden was always disposed to the categorical. The world of aesthetics and the world of ethics are different, and getting them confused, as Auden felt he had in the s, is always going to be perilous: light verse at least proceeds with the tacit acknowledgment that while there is certainly some serious stuff about, it is happening altogether elsewhere.
Improvising on characters from The Tempest in another great essay, this one about Robert Frost, Auden allocated the first of these kinds of poetry to the spritely Ariel, the second to the worldly Prospero, and suggested that every poet — meaning himself — contained some mixture of the two. But they are evidently two very different sorts of creativity and their cohabitation does not look set to be very straightforward, any more than it was for their Shakespearean prototypes.
Larkin thought such lines bookish, but they seem to me very far from bookish. There is a humane pessimism that runs throughout the writing, an immense sense of the fragility of the moral life as it is pursued precariously under the sway of powers we cannot comprehend: this disposition was acquired from his first master, Thomas Hardy, and then re-articulated in more sophisticated ways through Marx and Freud and others, and finally consolidated by the rather chilly brand of existentialist Christianity he turned towards from the s.
He was that most unusual of Christians, one who sought not a relief from unhappiness but rather a better way of understanding what that unhappiness meant, for it was the unhappiness that was the given. He understood himself to be under a moral obligation to regard the existence of the world as an intrinsic good, something to be celebrated, and he certainly disapproved of gloom: there is an admirable, sometimes camp, stoicism about much of the work.
His friend David Luke told a story of him, in his last year, attending an undergraduate production of The Dog beneath the Skin , a play he had written with Isherwood in the s. The part of the Poet, originally a self-absorbed youth, had been taken by an actor made up to look like a badly ageing man, complete with a deeply corrugated face.
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The Poems of Emma Lazarus, by Emma Lazarus
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Seven quotes to reflect on this Rosh Hashanah
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Revenge ultimately destroys its perpetrator. Shylock seeks revenge against his enemies, but it is he who suffers the downfall after Christians unite to trick him. Perhaps he would have had more success if he had pursued justice instead of revenge. Jews suffer bigotry and other forms of mistreatment because of their religion and race. Christians alienate Shylock simply because he is a Jew. In ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, Jews almost always encountered prejudice from non-Jews around them. Scholars are divided on whether Shakespeare, in The Merchant of Venice , was attempting condemn anti-Semitism by sympathizing with Shylock or approve of anti-Semitism by ridiculing Shylock.
It may well be that Shakespeare was simply holding a mirror to civilization to allow audiences to draw their own conclusions. An essay on this page contends that Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice partly to condemn the moral and ethical values of errant Christians, not the Jewish moneylender Shylock. Women can be just as competent as men, maybe even more so.
- Quick Links.
- Jesus Love Poems;
- Chaos Ramblings: Various scenes from a depressed mind.
- Burning Ambition?
- Kathryn Mockler.
Portia, disguised as a man, speaks eloquently in defense of Antonio and persuades the Duke of Venice to rule in Antonio's favor. Women can be just as ruthless as men, maybe even more so.
The Story Behind the Poem on the Statue of Liberty
Portia, who lectures Shylock and the court on the importance of mercy, exhibits racism after she rejects the Prince of Morocco because he is black. Moreover, she cleverly tricks and ruins Shylock without showing a hint of remorse. Don't count your ships until they're in port. Antonio confidently pledges the merchandise on his ships at sea to repay Shylock's loan to Bassanio. But all the ships are wrecked before they reach Venice. Great wealth and privilege breed apathy and disquietude. In the opening line of the play, Antonio says, "In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.
Shakespeare Study Guide in Book Form Shakespeare: a Guide to the Complete Works is now available in hardback and paperback. It incorporates virtually all of the information on this web site, including plot summaries of all the plays. In addition, it discusses and analyzes the sonnets, as well as other poems written by Shakespeare. Among the many additional features of the book are essays, glossaries, explanations of versification and iambic pentameter, and a section on the Globe Theatre.