The Merchant of Venice
a play by William Shakespeare, directed by Daniel Sullivan
at the Delacorte Theater, New York City, June 8–August 1, 2010; and the Broadhurst Theater, New York City, October 19, 2010–January 9, 2011
Shylock’s villainy is his own, but it is also deeply, essentially implicated in his Jewishness. Take away Iago’s rage at being passed over for promotion and you would still have Iago; take away Richard’s deformity, important though it is, and you would still have the twisted mind of the evil Duke of Gloucester. Both would, we can be certain, find other grounds, if the need arose, on which to base their murderous designs. But take away Shylock’s Jewishness, and he shrivels into nothingness.