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The Word of the Lord to Shylock

Biblical Forms in the Translations of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to Hebrew

Atar Hadari


Dror Abend-David’s Scorned My Nation in its comparative literary analysis of the German, Yiddish and Hebrew translations of The Merchant of Venice concludes that cultural context and political intentions changed dramatically between the two Hebrew translations in 1921 and 1972, limiting his textual analysis to the closing line of Shylock’s famous speech: ‘it shall go hard’. I examine two key words in that speech in the two translations to detect which biblical texts the translator called on, consciously or unconsciously, and gauge what the literary resources of the Hebrew language can make of Shylock and his complaint and whether the language portraying Shylock and his complaint did actually change over those fifty years.