Title

The strange case of Dr Lopez and Mr Shakespeare

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Erich Schmidt Verlag

Faculty

Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

School

WA Academy of Performing Arts

RAS ID

1776

Comments

This article was originally published as: Edelman, C. (2003). The strange case of Dr Lopez and Mr Shakespeare. Archiv fur das Studium der neuren Sprachen und Literaturen, 240, 108-112. Original available here

Abstract

Most students of Elizabethan drama have read that upon the trial and execution in 1594 of Queen Elizabeth’s Jewish physician, Roderigo Lopez, for attempting to poison his patient, there was an outbreak of anti-Semitism in London, leading to a revival of Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta and, a year or two later, Shakespeare’s writing The Merchant of Venice. In this short essay, I will argue that there is no connection between the Lopez case and The Merchant of Venice or English attitudes towards Jews in general, for we have no evidence that any such public demonstration of anti-Jewish sentiment occurred.