MERCY MIS­SION

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

It would be a trav­esty if Shy­lock were played by a woman. John Nathan ( JC, Jan 22) refers to Vanessa Red­grave as a ‘‘mem­o­rable Pros­pero’’ — mem­o­rable only in so far as it was aw­ful.

The prob­lem of a woman play­ing Shy­lock will fal­ter around her fail­ure to go along with the ‘’qual­ity of mercy’’ — or what’s a woman in the role for? Shake­speare does not pro­vide the words for that take on the role. And since, pre­cisely, Por­tia plays Belis­ario as a man to get her man, how can a woman play Shy­lock against that?

And at a time when we are an­tic­i­pat­ing Howard Jacobson’s new novel on the sub­ject — in which the trope of the father and daugh­ter mo­tif is a driv­ing force — the pro­mo­tion of a fe­male Shy­lock is dis­mal. Stephen Mas­sil Lon­don N8

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