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Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is classified as a comedy, since it ends in marriage instead of death. This is surprising to modern audiences especially considering the treatment of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. Is it an anti-Semitic play? Or a play with anti-Semitic characters? Shakespeare rises above the simplistic categorizations in a play that gives agency to the marginal and critiques those in the majority who abuse their power. In our current political climate of absolutes- right/wrong, hero/villain, revenge/mercy- Shakespeare creates a masterpiece of sophistication and subtlety, urging his audience to see the world in all its complexity and contradictions.