Questions set on The Merchant of Venice
Due date: 27th February 2009
- Students are to work in groups of five as per established groups
- Each group has been assigned a specific Question/task. This is indicated at the very top of each question/task
- Group-work procedure as set out in Handout #2, dated 15th January 2009 applies
- One or two suggested web addresses and/references have been given. Please make full use of this in your information gathering part of the exercise.
- Please see me as soon as you recognize a difficulty
Research the word “ghetto”
- (a) give definition
- (b) origin of the word
- (c) current connotations of the word. Say how this compares to the original definition.
- (d) How does the current/contemporary concept of “ghetto” relate to The Merchant of Venice.
Anti-Semitism exists in countries with virtually no Jewish population. Why do you think this is so?
- (a) Grenada may not have instances of anti-Semitism but there may be prejudices and stereotyping. Identify some local instances of prejudice or stereotyping,
- (b) Give possible reasons for these and show how the victims were/are affected.
- (c) List some ways through which we can prevent prejudice and stereotyping.
In 1594, London was consumed with the high-profile trial of Roderigo Lopez, the Queen's physician. The interesting thing is he was a Jew. Also, in 1894 in France there was the Dreyfus Affair.
- (a) Give a brief account of these two events (not more than a page)
- (b) In what ways do they highlight the stereotypical views which Europeans held at those times about Jews?
- (a) Define anti-Semitism
- (b) What is the difference, if any, between “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Judaism”?
- (c) What does the term 'Christ killer' have to do with Jews?
Jews have been historically scapegoated during difficult economic times. Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice not long after the Bubonic plague had ravaged England.
- (a) Write a brief account on the history of Jews in England during Shakespeare's time.
- (b) Briefly relate how the Black Death impacted the plight of Jews living in England at that time.
- (a) Find out what is usury.
- (b) How did the Elizabethans treat this practice?
- (c) Especially, to what extent were the Jews responsible for the Europeans of Shakespeare's time attitude to usury and them?