Shylock and the Jews

Shylock and the Jews

Dec 22, 2017 By Edna Nahshon | Commentary

In 1960, a global wave of anti-Semitic incidents led Orson Welles, known for his daring Shakespeare productions, to cancel his plans to star in The Merchant of Venice even though playing Shylock had been his lifelong ambition. He had been thwarted twice, he said. First, “a man called Hitler made it impossible,” and now, again, he felt he needed to give up the project as “hate merchants started scribbling swastikas all over the place,” referring to the onslaught of synagogue desecrations that had begun on Christmas Day 1959 in Cologne, Germany.  

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