Monday, July 9, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Shakespeare plaque and bust in Verona. See what I mean?

Here's something I've noticed about Italy. In Verona, Romeo and Juliet is EVERYWHERE. From the names of the pastries to the crappy souvenirs. In Venice, however, there is very little Shakespeare. And no mention, as far as I've discerned, of The Merchant of Venice.

I kept itching to raise my hand during a tour of the Jewish Ghetto yesterday, but I wasn't really sure what question to ask. How do Jews in Venice feel about Shakespeare? Do you, Jewish tour leader, feel like Shylock was portrayed at all sympathetically? Does any aspect of that play reflect the real history of the Jewish Ghetto (besides the obvious usury stuff)? But I didn't. I'm telling you, Shylock is verboten in this town. And that, my friends, is information enough.

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