Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Publications
• Shakespeare Quarterly

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

“Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will”: Melancholy Epistemology and Masochistic Fantasy in The Merchant of Venice



DREW DANIEL


This essay reads Antonio’s mysterious sadness psychoanalytically but bypasses overfamiliar, and potentially reductive, translations of early modern melancholy into Freudian melancholia. Instead, Antonio’s sacrificial longing to enter into the contract with Shylock and surrender the pound of flesh on behalf of Bassanio is read as a form of masochistic fantasy (via Deleuze, Silverman, Krafft-Ebbing, and Torok). The structure of subjection and desire at work within Antonio’s melancholy and his masochism bears a wider family resemblance to the buried contradictions that drive the turning worlds of Venice and Belmont. The extraction of the pound of flesh is not Antonio’s masochistic fantasy alone, but the political and ethical fantasy of subjection at the heart of the playtext that surrounds him. Articulating fault lines between Christian and Jew, master and bondsman, Venice and Belmont, letter and spirit, Antonio’s simultaneously melancholic and masochistic cry—"Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will"—breaks open the economic and political conflicts at the core of The Merchant of Venice.



Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623