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Shakespeare in the Age of Judaic Megalomania

Orwellian version of "The Merchant of Venice" debuts in Movie Theatres

by Michael A. Hoffman II

Copyright ©

William Shakespeare in his play "The Merchant of Venice" was determined to illuminate the contrasts between the Christian and Talmudic mentalities. Along with the "pound of flesh" court scene, the most profound and instructive passage is found in Portia's speech in which she replies to Shylock's relentless demand for judicial justice.

"The Merchant of Venice" has been an insurmountable obstacle to the Judaization of the West. In English literature it is rivaled only by Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" for the searing truths it expounds. In the lexicon of western culture, Fagin is a byword for a stolen-goods receiver and Shylock a synonym for heartless gouging, and it has been Hollywood's goal to expunge the indelible stigma.

In recent "Oliver Twist" movies for example, Hollywood tried to make Fagin into a figure of sympathy (George C. Scott as the decent Fagin), or of carnivalesque fun (the Disney version with Richard Dreyfuss as the merry, crime-solving Fagin). Both versions are counterfeits, but they sate the Hollywood moguls' need to ritually degrade and falsify the western canon.

Shakespeare is being subjected to the same process of counterfeiting when Shylock undergoes a tinsel-town facelift and becomes a sort of Tudor-era "Holocaust" victim in a new film version of "Merchant," featuring a star-studded cast, headed by Al Pacino.

To accomplish this feat of falsification, director-screenwriter Michael Radford has cut nearly an hour of dialogue from the play and transformed two of the Christian characters, the Venetian noblemen Antonio (Jeremy Irons) and Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) into homosexuals.

The film opens with a prologue, accompanied by a mournful Klezmer melody and the incineration of copies of the Talmud, explaining that Venetian Khazars were confined to a district ("getto" in Italian), restricted to the occupation of money-lending and "frequently brutalized."

In the opening scene, Shylock kindly greets Antonio in a market square, and the Christian responds by spitting in Shylock's face. This is Radford, not Shakespeare, but it is "falsification for a good cause," the rehabilitation of a Judaic usurer, and on that basis we are expected to be "good sports" and accept the lie without protest.

In the words of one reviewer, "It is the talent of Pacino (who played another reviled Judaic, Roy Cohn of Joe McCarthy infamy, in HBO's 'Angels in America') who elevates Shylock from a two-dimensional, vengeful villain to a fully fleshed, tortured and humiliated human being. In the classic monologue, 'Hath not a Jew eyes?' ...Pacino conveys centuries of hurt and persecution."

Any idea that Christians endured "centuries of hurt and persecution" at the hands of the Shylocks of the world is policed out of the film, even though it was Shakespeare's point. The reviewer adds, "In the final scene, a distraught, impoverished Shylock, forced to convert to Christianity, stands bareheaded outside a synagogue as always, the eternal outsider."

Amusing, is it not, in view of the fact that the consummate insider of our time, is now the Judaic?

According to the Canadian Jewish News, "Shylock is an aggrieved, complex character whose cruelty toward Antonio is dictated by mitigating circumstances. In his previous dealings with Shylock, Antonio has behaved quite badly. 'The villainy you teach me, I shall execute,' Shylock rasps in a vengeful moment, bitter over Antonio's deep-seated anti-Semitic attitudes."

The Canadian newspaper observes further, "So if you're wondering whether Michael Radford's nuanced version of The Merchant of Venice perpetuates hateful anti-Jewish notions, perish the thought. Radford has clearly bent over backwards to clear the air and present Shylock as a truly tragic but calculating figure trapped by the anti-Semitism of 16th-century Europe and enmeshed in a catch-22 situation...Jews were second-class citizens, always unsure of their personal security and physical safety. This unsettling uncertainty emerges in the first few scenes as Jews are capriciously tossed off a bridge..."

This fractured fairy tale of a movie repeats the standard, childish Judaic conceit, that if a Judaic behaves in an evil fashion it is only a reaction to persecution. This alibi is never extended to the enemies of the Judaics, as for example when the 1930s-era Germans were enraged by the Judeo-Bolshevik persecution and mass murder of the gentiles of Russia.

When Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai taught that, "Even the best of the gentiles should all be killed," his warrant for genocide was explained away as "rage over Roman persecution." And when rabbinic students were caught spitting on the Cross in Jerusalem recently, the instant alibi of "anger over centuries of Christian persecution" was produced.

In clashes with Judaics, Germans, Christians, Palestinians and gentiles in general, are always depicted as forever initiating persecution, never victims of it. Judaics meanwhile, are only shown being implicated in crime or bloodshed when "enmeshed in a Catch-22 situation" of "mitigating circumstances." This ridiculous dogma of eternal Judiac blamelessness is itself a function of the very Talmudic chauvinism which Shakespeare sought to expose.

Shakespeare was no Spielberg hack producing one-dimensional villains. The playwright afforded Shylock many human touches, and deservedly so, that the viewer might better appreciate the ravages of evil upon the human being and human soul. All immortal literature offers the human side of the wicked antagonist. Fagin, for this reason, is a more animated character than some of the anemic allies of Oliver.

By this literary device, Shakespeare and Dickens were rising above propaganda and saying to their audience, "Behold a fellow human brought down to the depths of depravity by his own free will." Judaism imparts no such personal responsibility for the consequences of the actions of the "Jew." It imparts instead an eternally crippling martyr complex, a "world owes me" sense of entitlement and whining, which our culture decries in nearly every segment of society except the Judaic.

Shakespeare's authentic Merchant of Venice" teaches that legalism and the self-justification of the Pharisee leads to a deforming pride which permits predation in the name of justice. Far from holding the Christian above the Jew, Shakespeare teaches that the plea of humanity must be for mercy, rather than justice, for a divine justice untempered by mercy would condemn us all, Judaic and gentile. It is this instruction in universal humility that Judaism rejects.

By falsifying Shakespeare in order to make "The Merchant of Venice" conform to the dictates of contemporary Judaic megalomania, Hollywood has done a grave disservice not only to the Bard, but to all those most in need of his wisdom.

Judaism's Strange Gods

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Copyright 2005 by Michael A. Hoffman II