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Would Ban “merchant of Venice” in Schools of Small Towns

After achieving the elimination of the study of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” from the curricula of most of the high schools of larger cities, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League is now directing its efforts to the smaller communities.

“Many school superintendents,” says a report of the Anti-Defamation League, “still seem to think that the only basis for objection is that some of the Jewish pupils in the schools may feel personally embarrassed during the study of the play, and that, therefore, if there are no Jewish students in the class, there is no necessity for elimination of the play.

“Were all teachers of English in our schools broad and well-informed, the ‘Merchant of Venice’ might then become a most forceful lesson of tolerance. Instead of being held up as a typical example of a race stigmatized as vengeful, bloodthirsty and pitiless, Shylock would take his place in literature and current thought as one of the great mass of human beings, Christians and Jews alike, who resent insults, who love when loved, who hate when hated and who seek revenge commensurate with their individual passions.”

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