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‘I Could Teach You How to Choose Right’: Using Holocaust Memoir to Teach Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

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The article examines the problems of teaching William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice after the Holocaust, arguing that even though the play is anti-Semitic, it can become a valuable teaching tool when placed in the context of the Holocaust memoirs Dry Tears by Nechama Tec and The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer. These two texts show remarkable similarities with The Merchant of Venice. Discussing the effect on authors of these memoirs of ghetto life, persistent anti-Semitism and forced conversion can help students see Shylock as sympathetic and the play as tragic rather than comic.
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Keywords: Shylock; The Merchant of Venice; teaching Shakespeare; teaching The Merchant of Venice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Languages and Literature,East Texas Baptist University, MarshallTexas, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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