The Nazis made their own production of the Merchant of Venice for propaganda purposes. Is there any footage of this production that survives to this day? Do any scripts survive? I ask because significant aspects of The Merchant of Venice, as Shakespeare told it, contradict Nazi ideology.
First of all, Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, is portrayed quite heroically in Shakespeare’s work. Did the Nazis’ version of the play have Jessica in it? Secondly, Shylock converts to Christianity at the end, and Shylock is allowed to keep half of his fortune. These aspects of the play significantly defy Nazi ideology. Did the Nazis change these aspects of Shakespeare’s play when they remade it?
There was a New York Times article by John Gross called “Shylock and Nazi Propaganda” from 1993, but it’s paywalled and I don’t have access. There’s also an article from German Life and Letters V63N2 titled “Shylock and Othello under the Nazis” here - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0483.2010.01490.x.
Those were the two links I found that seemed to address Merchant of Venice directly, but there are lots of discussions of Shakespeare’s works in general under the Nazis that may be helpful.
Thanks, Nick! I can get access to the “Shylock and Othello” article by Andrew G. Bonnell! Bonnell writes " This Shylock did not even exhibit genuine grief over the loss of his daughter, who turned out to be adopted, allowing the union of Jessica and Lorenzo to comply with the Nuremberg racial laws."