‘Certainly the Muslim is the very devil incarnation’: Islamophobia and The Merchant of Venice

Awan, Imran and Issa, Islam (2018) ‘Certainly the Muslim is the very devil incarnation’: Islamophobia and The Merchant of Venice. The Muslim World, 108 (3). pp. 367-386.

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In this paper, we examine Shakespeare’s sixteenth-century play, The Merchant of Venice. Anti-Semitism is a key theme in this play. The well-known central character, Shylock, is a Jewish man ridiculed and victimised because of his identity. Much literary research has been done on the anti-Semitism of the play, and many social studies have compared anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, but scarcely any research brings a Shakespearean play from the sixteenth century into the context of twenty-first century Islamophobia. There are a number of similarities between the manner in which Shylock is ostracised and the current victimisation that Muslim communities are facing in the UK. With this in mind, we explore contextual and thematic elements of this play and argue that it is possible to apply the way Shylock is unfairly victimised on stage because of his identity as a Jew to the treatment of some Muslims today. In particular, the treatment he faces shares stark similarities with the types, impacts and consequences of Islamophobic hate crime today.

Item Type: Article
1 August 2018Accepted
25 September 2018Published Online
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-03 - social policy
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-04 - health and social care > CAH15-04-01 - social work
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Imran Awan
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2018 09:56
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:55
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6416

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