Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is one of the Bard’s most challenging plays, and it is particularly challenging for modern Jews. Led by a leading scholar in Renaissance literature, this seminar course will give students the chance to work slowly and intensively through the text of Shakespeare’s play. We will consider the action and themes of the play as a whole but will also look particularly at Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock. How closely does Shylock replicate other “stage Jews” of the period? How closely does he represent the real status of Jews in early modern England? What do we make of the ties—literary and historical—between Jews and the world of money and markets?
Dr. Sarah Skwire
Sarah Skwire is a Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation and the co-author of the college writing textbook, Writing with a Thesis, which is in its 12th edition. Sarah has published a range of academic articles on subjects from Shakespeare to zombies and the broken window fallacy, and her work has appeared in journals as varied as Religions, Literature and Medicine, The George Herbert Journal, and The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She has written frequently for FEE, the Fraser Institute, Bleeding Heart Libertarians, and other print and digital outlets. Sarah’s work on literature and economics has also appeared in Newsweek, The Freeman, and in Cato Unbound, and she is an occasional lecturer for IHS, SFL, and other organizations. She has been featured on podcasts such as Economic Rockstars and Imaginary Worlds. Her poetry has appeared, among other places, in Standpoint, The New Criterion, and The Vocabula Review. She graduated with honors in English from Wesleyan University, and earned an MA and PhD in English from the University of Chicago.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.