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Shylock in the Cinema

Michael Radford’s The Merchant of Venice

Maria-Clara Versiani Galery

Abstract

This article discusses different responses to Michael Radford’s 2004 screen rendition of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. It examines selected newspaper reviews, as well as academic papers that critique the filmic adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, taking into account its representation of Shakespeare’s Jew. The article interrogates to what extent the medium – theatre or cinema – affects the way the audience experiences the work, especially when dealing with an issue as complex as antisemitism. In this manner, Radford’s attempt to historicize the events in Merchant is viewed as a form of attenuating the antisemitic elements in the play.