Anti-Semitic engraving showing Shylock the Jew holding the knife in one hand and the scales in the other, from "The Merchant of Venice" J. Bell British Tabary Strand edition. London, 1785.
In this scene from the play, the greedy Jew Shylock gives the Christian Antonio three thousand ducats, and condition him with a written and signed note that if he does not pay in time, the Jew is allowed to cut off a liter of flesh from his body. Antonio lost his fortune and cannot repay the debt, and Shylock, decided to take revenge on Antonio and cut a liter of his flesh on the side of the heart. In the engraving, the Jewish Shylock is seen holding the knife in his hand and preparing to cut Antonio's flesh on the side of the heart. The play was accompanied by harsh anti-Semitic passages against the egoistic nature of the Jews, and it caused waves of anti-Semitism to erupt throughout Europe over the years, and whenever differences of opinion between Jews and Christians appeared, the play served as a background for an anti-Semitic stereotypical representation of the Jew as a threat to the decent Christian community.
15x9 cm. Light stains. Good condition.