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Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Sir Walter Scott's Treatment of Jews in Ivanhoe
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by Ibn Warraq (July 2009) 


It was argued by Leon Poliakov and others
[1] that the portrait of Isaac the Jew in Ivanhoe is generally an unfavourable one, indeed an unflattering stereoptype derived from The Merchant of Venice and Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta of the Jew as a contemptible or comic miser. Scott introduces Isaac in chapter five which bears the well-known words from The Merchant of Venice as its motto, “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?” However, it seems highly unlikely that an author would choose just such a passage from Shakespeare if he meant to solely denigrate Jews, or that he picked this particular passage at random. One has to feel the fine tone of the entire novel, and its moral nuances before dismissing Scott’s portrait of the Jew as an anti-semitic stereotype. more>>>
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Posted on 06/30/2009 5:46 PM by NER
Comments
8 Dec 2015
U. S. 'n Aye
A long-winded bore. I've read the book, you don't have to copy out the whole thing for me to read before. I was looking for something original and interesting. You give pablum. Scott treats the Jews as I have never seen them treated elsewhere. There is the story worth writing about.

7 Mar 2013
Send an emailstu ross

a worthy treatment of the complexity of Scott's work, which too often is portrayed as a simple romantic tale with a pleasing ending about mediaeval england.



9 Feb 2012
Send an emailTersais

I cant see any presentation of Jewish seterotype in ivanhoe, the way it is found in both MOV and JOM. It is an exaggeration , and overstatement , to say that Isaac as an archetype, to use Frye's term.

H. Al-Askari,

M.A. Litt.

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