The Merchant of Venice in Arabic
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This paper intends to investigate the varied treatment of The Merchant of Venice in Arabic, commenting particularly on the depiction of Shylock in Arabic drama. As such, the study will bring into focus two important aspects of the topic, namely the varyied reception of the play in Arabic (i.e in terms of translation, performance and critical response); and the representation of shylock in modem Arabic literature, especially in Arabic drama, in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In considering the treatment of this particular play in Arabic drama, I will be extremely selective, focusing mainly on one representative work, that is, Ali Ahmed Bakathir's two-part play The New Shylock (Shayloukh al-jadid), an adaptation of Shakespeare's play. of course some other pertinent literary works in which Shylock figures will be cited in the course of the discussion. However, as the conception of Shylock in Shakespeare was originally influenced by the public attitude towards the Jews in the Bard's time<4>, so the treatment of the lay in Arabic has likewise been conceived from a similar standpoint; that is, the image of the Jew in popular Arabic culture, which is not always complimentary, and of course the Arab-Israeli conflict over the complicated problem of Palestine.