“Shanda fur die Goyim:” Adapting The Merchant of Venice for Jewish and Non-Jewish Audiences

  • Sophia Hershfield University of Winnipeg


William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, and specifically the character of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, are deeply anti-Semitic. Despite this, the play has been reworked and adapted by Jewish artists, writers, actors, and directors. In this paper I argue that Jewish adaptations of The Merchant of Venice have the power to subvert anti-Semitic stereotypes and represent Jewish life in the diaspora. I will compare adaptations made for primarily Jewish audiences to adaptations made to reach a significantly broader audience.