The Merchant ‘in’ Venice and The Shylock Project: Fiction, History, and the Humanities
The 2016 production of The Merchant of Venice staged a comedy famous for its antisemitic expressions in a place of symbolic significance to Jews, whose tragic history has resulted from exactly such sentiments. How, then, do we reconcile the experience of fiction with the claims of history? Certain of the production’s values created the sense of an aesthetically self-contained artifact, yet the performance also took place against the looming, inescapable realism of the ghetto itself – a tension that can be felt, too, in activities related to the production. Illuminated here is the power of humanities public events to reinvigorate, through questioning, the life of the human community.