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Volume 33

Issue 1

A JOURNAL OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Fall/Winter 2005
3 19 45 93 105
David Azerrad Avery Plaw Dennis Teti The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah Prince Harry: Shakespeares Critique of Machiavelli The Unbloody Sacrifice: The Catholic Theology of Shakespeares Merchant of Venice A Change of Orientation: Leo Strausss Comments on Carl Schmitt Revisited

David Janssens

Book Review: David Lewis Schaefer Leo Strauss and His Legacy: A Bibliography edited by John A. Murley

A JOURNAL OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

www.interpretationjournal.com Editor-in-Chief Hilail Gildin, Dept. of Philosophy, Queens College Associate Editors Erik Dempsey Stephen Eide General Editors Charles E. Butterworth Hilail Gildin Leonard Grey General Editors (Late) Howard B. White (d. 1974) Robert Horwitz (d. 1978) Seth G. Benardete (d. 2001) Consulting Editors Christopher Bruell Joseph Cropsey Harry V. Jaffa David Lowenthal Muhsin Mahdi Harvey C. Mansfield Ellis Sandoz Kenneth W. Thompson Consulting Editors (Late) Leo Strauss (d. 1973) Arnaldo Momigliano (d. 1987) Michael Oakeshott (d. 1990) John Hallowell (d. 1992) Ernest L. Fortin (d. 2002) International Editors Terence E. Marshall Heinrich Meier Editors Wayne Ambler Maurice Auerbach Robert Bartlett Fred Baumann Eric Buzzetti Susan Collins Patrick Coby Elizabeth Cde Baca Eastman Thomas S. Engeman Edward J. Erler Maureen Feder-Marcus Pamela K. Jensen Ken Masugi Carol L. McNamara Will Morrisey Amy Nendza Susan Orr Michael Palmer Charles T. Rubin Leslie G. Rubin Susan Meld Shell Devin Stauffer Bradford P. Wilson Cameron Wybrow Martin D. Yaffe Michael P. Zuckert Catherine H. Zuckert Copy Editor Thomas Schneider Designer Wendy Coy Subscriptions Subscription rates per volume (3 issues): Individuals $29 Libraries and all other institutions $48 Students (four-year limit) $18 Single copies available. Payments: in U.S. dollars and payable by a financial institution located within the U.S.A. (or the U. S. Postal Service). Inquiries Mrs. Mary Contos, Assistant to the Editor Interpretation, Queens College, Flushing, NY 11367-1597, U.S.A. (718) 997-5542 Fax: (718) 997-5565 email interpretation_journal@qc.edu Printed by Sheridan Press, Hanover, PA, U.S.A.

Volume 33

Issue 1

A JOURNAL OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Fall/Winter 2005
3 19 45 93 105
David Azerrad Avery Plaw Dennis Teti The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah Prince Harry: Shakespeares Critique of Machiavelli The Unbloody Sacrifice: The Catholic Theology of Shakespeares Merchant of Venice A Change of Orientation: Leo Strausss Comments on Carl Schmitt Revisited

David Janssens

Book Review: David Lewis Schaefer Leo Strauss and His Legacy: A Bibliography edited by John A. Murley

2006 Interpretation, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the contents may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher. ISSN 0020-9635

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FOR

CONTRIBUTORS

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The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah


DAV I D A Z E R R A D UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS dazerra@udallas.edu

For you shall know that God will have differentiated between Egypt and Israel. (Ex. 11: 7)

In the late nineteenth century, German and French scholars, emboldened by important discoveries in the emerging field of Egyptology, returned to the Bible to reconsider its depiction of Egypt. Their conclusions, not surprisingly perhaps, were quite critical of the biblical portrayal. A few decades later, by the time Flinders Petries Egypt and Israel (1911) and T. Eric Peets Egypt and the Old Testament (1924) reached the English-speaking public, a growing number of scholars viewed the biblical account as historically inaccurate. Such criticism, whether true or not, ultimately rests on a flawed understanding of the aims of the Hebrew Bible in general, and of the Pentateuch in particular. All too often, biblical scholars misconstrue the Pentateuch as a history of the formation of the Jewish people. Thus, according to F. V. Greifenhagen, what we have in the Pentateuch is an account of ethnogenesis: the emergence of biblical Israel as a self-conscious people or ethnic group (2003, 9). Ultimately of course, the Pentateuch is much more than an ethnogenesis. While the five books of Moses do indeed retrace the history of what would become the Jewish people, they constitute first and foremost the guide of how these people are to live. The Pentateuch is a Toraha teaching. The word Torah itself traces its etymology to the verb to teach (le-horot; Lev. 10:11). From the perspective of the biblical author, it is in fact the teaching. The Torah sets forth a comprehensive teaching which Robert Sacks most aptly calls the New Way (1990). If the Children of Israel are to follow this New Way, and
2006 Interpretation, Inc.

Interpretation

more importantly, understand it, the biblical author must not only clearly present it, but also vividly contrast it to another way antithetical to its own principles. In the Torah, Egypt comes to symbolize the fundamental alternative to the New Way. Egypt is not simply, as Thomas Pangle argues, the worst regime (1995, 71) but rather the regime compared to which the apolitical New Way subordinated to God reveals its fundamentally different nature. Egypt is the Other Way. If as Eric Voegelin suggests, the truth of the symbol is not informative; it is evocative (1990, 344), Egypt will ultimately encompass much more than a land, a people or even a nation. Thus, while rooted in the land of the Nile, it must nevertheless remain a vague, undefined place. The Pharaohs are never named and no Egyptian cities, with the exception of Pithom and Ramses, are ever identified. As for Goshen, the area where the Israelites dwelled while in Egypt, it eludes specification (Greifenhagen 2003, 44) and may have been fabricated by the biblical author. In the Torah, Egypt is somewhere perhaps everywherebeyond Canaan. It symbolizes any attempt by man to live according to his own laws. Egypt ultimately represents the innate human longing to recreate, through mans efforts alone, an Eden sheltered from necessity. Egyptian anthropocentrism therefore cannot accommodate any gods, much less YHWH, the God of Israel. Egypt can worship no God but the God-king Pharaoh. Thus one always goes down (la-redet) into Egypt and ascends out of it (la-alot). By exalting man, Egypt is imbued with a magnetic quality to which the Israelites, like all other humans, are always drawn. Egypt and its ways are always looming. Since the New Way of the Torah cannot eradicate the other, older Egyptian way, it must attempt to create a realm insulated from the ways of the Egyptian, knowing that Egypt lurks within every man. Egypt and Israel must somehow coexist in tension with each other. For every Moses born in Egypt but raised out of it, there is a Joseph born in the Holy Land but incorporated into Egypt. In its broadest outlines, the Torah presents the New Ways triumph over the older Egyptian Other Way. In the beginning, before the New Way, Egypt is already well established and prosperous. When a famine plagues the Land of the New Way, Abram turns to Egypt and emerges wealthy. While Abrams journey to Egypt does not even give God the opportunity to assert his Providence, it does prove Egypts ability to provide for man. Faced with another famine, aside from the first famine that was in the days of Abraham (Gen. 26:1), Isaac is specifically forbidden by God to go down to Egypt. God makes Isaac prosper nonetheless, proving that the New Way too can provide

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

for man. The stage is now set for a confrontation between the two ways. The stories of Abraham and Isaac do not prove the superiority of the way of God to that of the Egyptians. To firmly establish the New Way, the Other Way must first lose its appeal in the eyes of the Israelites. The Children of Israel will therefore dwell in Egypt for more than two centuries and experience firsthand the yoke of its tyranny. God will then crush the Egyptians with a mighty hand (Deut. 5:15) and return Pharaoh and his legion to the primordial waters. The Children of Israel will thus be ready to receive the New Way. The ways of Egypt will however far outlast Egypt itself. No sooner have the Israelites left the house of bondage, do they already long for the comforts it once brought. The New Way will still have to contend with the peoples Egyptian longings. Thus, in this regard, the Torah is as much about the Egyptian Other Way which God so vehemently rejects, as it is about Israel and the New Way (see Addendum 1). T HE
SONS OF

H AM : C USH , E GYPT, P UT

AND

C ANAAN .

Egypt first appears in the genealogies of Noahs sons, well before Abraham, the founder of the New Way, is even born. From the outset, Egypt is set apart from the genealogy of the Chosen people. In fact, Egypt (mitsrayim) is tied to the lineage of the impudent small son Ham (Gen. 9:24) whose descendants will be in direct conflict with the Children of Israel and the New Way. While Put sinks into total obscurityhis sons are not even mentionedCush will give rise to Nimrod, a mighty hunter, who founds the first kingdom and the first great city. Nimrods kingdom begins in Babel (bavel), which in Hebrew designates both Babel, whose inhabitants will later attempt to reach the heavens with their tower, and Babylonia, whose king will one day burn the Temple, destroy the Kingdom of Judah and send the Israelites into exile (II Kings 25:8-11). The connection between Egypt and Babel is more than just familial. In the Torah, bricks (levenim) and mortar (_ homer) are only found in Babel (Gen. 11:3) and Egypt (Ex. 1:14). Common to both the Tower of Babel and the Egyptian Pharaonic state is a hubristic attempt to dethrone God As for Mitsrayims accursed younger brother Canaan, he begets many of the people who will later inhabit the Holy Land and whom God will order the Israelites to exterminate. Mitsrayim himself begets seven sons. Although they will all disappear into anonymity, their progeny, the Philistines, will be a thorn in the side of Israel from the moment they settle in the Holy Land. Israels southern border with the idol-worshiping Philistines will never be quiet. Egypt, it would seem, is always lurking. Even after the Children of Israel are finally liberated from Egypt, they will be plagued by the Children of Egypt. We should however be careful not to indict Egypt on the basis of the actions of its

Interpretation

siblings or its grandchildren. From the outset, the stories in the Bible make it clear that good and bad brothers can come from the same seed (Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau). Furthermore, as Deuteronomy warns: Fathers will not be put to death because of sons, nor sons for their fathers each man will die for his own sin (24:16). T HERE WAS A FAMINE IN THE LAND A BRAM WENT DOWN TO E GYPT.
AND

The story of Israel proper begins with Gods call to Abram Go forth for yourself (Gen. 12:1). Gods call is immediately followed by a promise to make Abram a great nation and to make his name great (ve-agdalah shmekha). Unlike the men of Babel who sought to make a name for themselves through their own efforts alone (Gen. 11:4), God, under the New Way, will make a name for Abram and his descendants. The juxtaposition of the stories of the Tower of Babel and Abrams call highlights the contrast between the ways of men and the New Way. Nowhere else in the Torah is the word name (shem) used in such a way. After Abram leaves behind his land, relatives and fathers house, he goes to Canaan, to the land God shows him (Gen. 12:1). Once there, however, Canaan is struck by famine, a famine which weighed heavily on the land (Gen 12:10). The heavy famine threatens Abram and his family and calls into question the providence of the mysterious, hitherto-unknown YHWH who appeared in Haran. Abram, who cannot yet know much of the New Way, takes matters into his own hands and descends to Egypt. Egypt is not even said to be a land of plenty spared by the famine. In trying times, it seems that the natural instinct is to turn to Egypt. But why Egypt and not some other land? Egypt, as the Bible tells us and as was known throughout the ancient world, is well-watered everywhere (Gen. 13:10; cf. Herodotus, Histories, 2.13-14). In this regard, it is even compared to the garden of God where Adam first dwelt (ibid.). Egypt does not depend on rainfall to grow its crops and feed its people. The inundations of the Nile, coupled with artificial irrigation, ensure that it has an abundant supply of food year round. As such, Egypt, unlike other lands, is sheltered from necessity. As the text emphasizes in the structure of the following sentence, Egypt is surrounded by famine: And there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there for the famine weighed heavily on the land (Gen. 12:10, emphasis added). Egypt will only be threatened by famine once, when God, intervening in human affairs, decides to send one. As Joseph explains to Pharaoh concerning

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

his dreams, what God is about to do, he has told Pharaoh (Gen. 41:25) and he is now hastening to bring it about (Gen. 41:32). Nature cannot harm Egypt. Only God can attempt to do so. Yet he too must contend with Egyptian hubris which knows no God. Threatened with a divine famine, the Egyptian response is to put into place measures that will insulate the land from the effects of the food shortage. Egypt has gained such mastery over its environment that it can even thwart Gods plans. The modern project to conquer nature, still very much alive today, had thus already been adumbrated in the biblical authors Egypt. Egypt is indeed like no other land. As God will later announce to the Israelites in the desert: The land to which you are coming to possess it, it is not like the land of Egypt that you left, where you would sow your seed and water it by foot like a vegetable garden (Deut. 11:10; Zech. 14:18). The Egyptians have mastered an already hospitable environment to such an extent that they have recreated an Edenic state of abundance. Egypt thus constitutes an affront to God who, after banishing Adam and Eve from Eden, stations the Cherubim and the revolving flaming sword to prevent anyone from ever entering it again. Egypt has not only managed to re-enter Eden, but also to taste the Tree of Life and regain immortality. Underlying the typically Egyptian practice of embalming, highlighted in the deaths of both Jacob (Gen. 50:2) and Joseph (Gen. 50:26), is a belief that the body lives eternally. Embalming is contrary to Gods way for Adam had already been told that he would return to the earth from which he was taken: for dust you are and to dust you will return (Gen. 3:19). If God expelled man from Eden lest he stretch his hand and take also from the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22) and truly become a divine creature, then the Egyptians are somewhat like God. Being gods themselves, the Egyptians need no gods, much less a demanding God like YHWH. Nowhere in the Pentateuch, not even when the land is smitten by the plagues, are the Egyptians shown invoking their gods or praying. When the Egyptianized Joseph threatens his brothers, he swears twice by the life of Pharaoh (Gen. 42:15-6). Since Egyptian see themselves as immortal, they lack an awareness of the dimension of reality called time. Egypt is timeless. The baker, the cupbearer and Pharaoh all fail to see the images in their dreams as events unfolding in time (Sacks 1990, 348). In the most profound sense, Egypt is timeless not only because, being sheltered from necessity, it does not grasp time, but because it is eternal. Egypt exists at all times. Egypt, as we will soon discover, is

Interpretation

not just a contingent historical nation bound to disappear one day, but also an innate human longing for autonomy and mastery. DO
NOT DESCEND INTO

E GYPT.

Abram thus descends into Egypt where he acquires great wealth. Whereas he came to Canaan with all the possessions he possessed and the souls they made (Gen. 12:5), he leaves Egypt very laden with livestock, silver and gold (Gen. 13:2; 12:16). Lot and Abram have in fact grown so rich that the land can no longer support them living together. Egypt, upon first encounter, appears to be a place of refuge in difficult times where one can grow immensely rich. The story does cast a doubt on the Egyptian treatment of foreign women (Gen. 12:14-15), but the reader cannot necessarily conclude that Pharaoh would have taken Sarai had he known she was married. In spite of this incident, Egypt not only allows Abram to survive the famine but also makes him a wealthy man. If the unknown YHWH hopes to supplant the Egyptian Way with his New Way he will have to prove that he too can provide for man. Many years later, Abrahams son finds himself in a similar situation. With the land of Canaan in the grips of another famine, Isaac heads south (toward Egypt) to Gerar in the land of the Philistines. While the text does not say that Isaacs ultimate destination is Egypt, such an assumption appears warranted. How else are we to explain Gods specific prohibitionDo not descend into Egypt (Gen. 26:2)? Furthermore, it would not be the first repetition of an Abrahamic episode in the life of Isaac (e.g. Gen. 26:6-11). Like his father who obeyed the divine commandment to go forth, Isaac complies with the order to stay put. Under the care of God, Isaac not only survives the famine, but acquires formidable wealth:
And Isaac sowed in that land and in that year he reaped a hundredfold, and YHWH blessed him. The man became great and he grew constantly greater until he had grown very great. He had acquired flocks and herds and many servants; and the Philistines envied him. (Gen. 26:12-14)

God has replaced Egypt. In fact, the texts marked emphasis on Isaacs greatness (godel) implies that God has surpassed Egypt. The similarities of the two famine episodes (famine, Egypt / God, wealth) invite the reader to compare the New Way under God to the older Egyptian Way. The New Way proves to be able, not only to provide for the Children of Israel, but also to bring riches and eminence, just as Egypt did.

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

A ND

WE WILL BE SLAVES TO

P HARAOH .

The narrative in Genesis has so far unfolded in Mesopotamia and Canaan. At the time of Jacobs return to the land of his fathers sojournings (Gen. 37:1), Egypt is still a faraway place, a land of plenty to which one turns in times of famine. After Jacobs sons sell their brother Joseph to the Midianite traders, the story moves from Canaan to Egypt where the Israelites will dwell for more than two centuries. The change of setting now gives the biblical author an opportunity to disclose in greater depth the nature of Egypt. Egypt reveals herself to be the land of Pharaoh in the strictest sense of the term. While the Egyptian monarch does not necessarily appear in every scene, the whole of Egypt lives under the shadows cast by his sun. We first encounter Pharaoh celebrating his birthday. Nowhere else in the entire Hebrew Bible is a birthday celebrated. By highlighting this oddity, the author draws our attention to the cult of Pharaoh in Egypt. For what is a birthday but a celebration of the birth of a particular human being, of his entry into the world? The text, perhaps out of piety, stops short of exposing the Egyptian belief in the divinity of the Pharaoh. While the Babelians sought to build a tower to reach the heavens, the Egyptians have elevated one among themselves to heavenly status. The god-king thus appropriates certain powers otherwise reserved for God throughout the Bible. After appointing Joseph to rule over the land of Egypt, Pharaoh renames him Tsaphenat-Paneah. Given the importance and significance of names in the Torah, name changes, with this particular exception, are the exclusive prerogative of God. On his birthday, Pharaoh makes a feast for all his avadim. From Genesis 39 onwards, the text seems to play on the dual meaning of avadim which can either mean servants (as in Gen. 43:28, cf. 32:5) or, more probably, slaves (as in Gen. 47:19, cf. 12:16). The Torah seems to imply that in Egypt all are slaves to Pharaoh. Slaves, both male and female (shfah _ot), were first encountered in the Bible during Abrahams earlier sojourn in Egypt (Gen. 12:16). Later, as Egypt feels the worst pangs of the famine, the people offer Joseph to buy us and our land for bread and we and our land will become slaves to Pharaoh (Gen. 47:19). The preceding sentence however, only concludes that the land became Pharaohs (Gen. 47:20), thereby implying that Pharaoh already owned the people. Egypt, as God will so often later tell his own people in the desert, is a house of slavery (Deut. 5:6; see Addendum 2). Although Pharaohs rule is absolute, he is still free to exercise his despotic power benevolently or tyrannically. The Pharaoh in power in

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Interpretation

Genesis is good to both Joseph and his large family. Yet even when a good Pharaoh sits on the throne, his Egyptian nature shines through. When Pharaoh hears the news that Joseph has been reunited with his brothers, he immediately invites the rest of the family to come stay in Egypt: I will give you the best of the land and you will eat of the fat of the land (Gen. 45:18). Tied to the generous invitation is a command (Gen. 45:19). Jacob and his family must leave behind their belongings as Pharaoh will provide for them. While we already knew from Abrahams first sojourn that one may leave Egypt wealthy, Pharaohs words now reveal that one may not enter it with wealth. In Egypt, all flows from Pharaoh. The land of Egypt, which belongs to Pharaoh who may thus apportion it as he pleases, will feed the Children of Israel. Jacob, the torchbearer of the New Way, understands the implications of Pharaohs command. Disregarding the Pharaonic order, he sets out with all that he has (Gen. 46:1). More importantly, before setting out, he offers sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac (Gen. 46:1). Jacob must know that YHWH forbids going down into Egypt. He thus presents offerings and obtains divine approval before heading out. T ELL
MY FATHER OF ALL MY GLORY IN

E GYPT.

Any examination of the role of Egypt in the Torah must ultimately confront the troubling Egyptianization of Joseph. From the moment he leaves the prison, Joseph, who had been raised by the great patriarch Jacob, gradually takes on the ways of the Egyptians. He learns the language (Gen. 42:23), wears Egyptian clothes, takes on an Egyptian name and even shaves (Gen. 41:14)a most un-Israelite practice, as no other Israelite in the entire Hebrew Bible ever shaves. When his father dies, he has him embalmed by Egyptian physicians. Joseph even becomes Pharaohs Viceroy and marries an Egyptian woman, the daughter of a high priest. His reforms allow Egypt to avert the famine and Pharaoh to consolidate his iron grip over the land, thereby creating the conditions that will allow the next Pharaoh to enslave the Children of Israel. Jewish commentators, who have traditionally been quite sympathetic to Joseph, skirt the issue, focusing instead on his righteousness among the decadent Egyptians. Even such a thoughtful commentator as Sacks who draws attention to Josephs gradual Egyptianization, does not make much of it. Josephs Egyptianization culminates in the Pharaohnesque speech where he reveals his true identity to his brothers. Whereas Joseph begins his monologue in a humble way, stressing the role of God in his rags to riches story, God gradually gives way to Joseph. Pharaohs Viceroy ends by

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

1 1

announcing to his brother I will nourish you (Gen. 45:11, cf. Gen 47:12) and orders them to Tell my father of all my glory in Egypt (Gen. 45:13). By portraying himself as a provider, Joseph anticipates Pharaohs speech, discussed above. Most disturbing are Josephs last words. Nowhere else in the entire Torah is the word glory (kavod) applied to a human in such a way. In the vast majority of cases, glory is in fact reserved for God (e.g. Ex. 14:4). Josephs final words capture the essence of Egypt. In Egypt, God disappears and gives way to man in all his glory. Thus, Joseph never speaks of YHWH, only of Elohim, which can either designate YHWH or be a generic name for any god. Joseph, in a sense, becomes a Pharaoh. Judass words to his brother should perhaps then be taken literally: you are like Pharaoh (Gen. 44:18). The story of Joseph thus not only allows the biblical author to expose the true nature of the land of Egypt, but also, through Josephs gradual Egyptianization, to further differentiate the symbol of Egypt. Josephs turn to Egypt reveals that behind Egypt lies a human longing, present also within the Children of Israel, to bring reality under mans control and, in doing so, to divinize man. Egypt, it turns out, is not just a faraway land which does not know God, but the desire, already evident in the story of Babel, to replace God. The biblical author uses the story of Joseph to warn his readers that if Jacobs favorite son succumbed to the ways of Egypt, so could any Israelite. In the end, Joseph does seem to break with the ways of Egypt. Before dying he asks his brothers to carry his remnants out with them the day Israel leaves Egypt. Yet unlike his father Jacob who insisted that he not be buried in Egypt and be transported to the tomb of his fathers upon his death, Joseph does not seem ready to part with Egypt immediately. His bones will remain in Egypt many more years. A ND E GYPT
WILL KNOW THAT

AM

YHWH.

The death of Joseph brings the scroll of Genesis to a close. The Children of Israel, like their forefather Abraham before them, have come to Egypt fleeing famine in the land of Canaan. Unlike Abraham however, they stay well past the end of the famine. Although the text of Genesis contains many hints that the Egyptian Way is an affront to God, it still retains all its appeal for the Children of Israel. Egypt remains the land of opulence sheltered from necessity. To prepare the Israelites for the Exodus, God must now expose the true Egypt, the House of Bondage. The scroll of Exodus opens with the rise to the throne of a new Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph (Ex. 1:8). Unlike his predecessor who treated Israels family generously, the new tyrannical Pharaoh

1 2

Interpretation

enslaves the Hebrews. Fearing for the demographic stability of the kingdom, Pharaoh does not hesitate to demand the murder of all Hebrew male newborns and, when this measure fails, of all male newborns. With a word, Pharaoh can command his entire people (Ex. 1:22), even to sacrifice their own children, since everything in Egypt ultimately comes from Pharaoh. The land of plenty has become the land of oppression and death. Similarly, when Pharaoh hears that Moses has killed a man, he orders that he be put to death, without even verifying the charges (Ex. 2:15). To lead the people out of Egypt, God chooses Moses, an Israelite born in Egypt, raised in the house of Pharaoh and even given an Egyptian name (Moshe means son in the Egyptian language; it is also found in the names of certain Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, including Ka-moshe, Ach-moshe and Toth-moshe). Although Moses surely knows of his origins and identifies with his peoplehe goes out to his brethren (Ex. 2:11)he is called an Egyptian man by the daughters of the Midianite priest (Ex. 2:19). If the story of Joseph revealed how an Israelite raised by one of the patriarchs could succumb to the ways of Egypt, the rise of Moses will show how an Israelite raised in the opulence of Egypt can resist its lures and follow God. While the text remains silent on Moses upbringing and childhood, the reader can easily speculate about what it must have been like to grow up in the House of Pharaoh, under the care of his daughter When God first appears in the burning bush, Moses, who has not only never seen this God before but never even heard his name (Ex. 3:13), still answers his call by saying Here I am (Ex. 3:4, cf. Gen. 22:1, 31:11). When Pharaoh, on the other hand, first hears of YHWH, he offers the paradigmatic Egyptian reply: Who is YHWH that I should hearken to his voice and send out Israel? I do not know YHWH (Ex. 5:2, emphasis added). Confronted with the hitherto unknown God YHWH, Moses piously steps forth, like Abraham before him, while Pharaoh, with characteristic Egyptian hubris, denies any knowledge of God. The stage is now set for a confrontation between the dormant New Way and the Egyptian Other Way. The Israelites cannot simply leave Egypt. The land of Pharaoh must be humiliatedyou will tell your son how I ridiculed Egypt (Ex. 10:2)and brought to its knees for the New Way to prove its superiority over the Other Way. Not only will the New Way emerge victorious, but Egypt itself will know that I am YHWH (Ex. 7:5, cf. 9:15, 9:16, 11:7). Israel too must rediscover YHWH after so many years in Egypt. Maimonides, citing Exodus Rabbah, even remarks that the Israelites had

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

1 3

abandoned the distinctive mark of the covenant and stopped circumcising their sons while in Egypt with a view to assimilating themselves to the Egyptians (1963, III:46, 585). Lastly, the spectacular exit from Egypt will also reveal the glory of God. As God instructs Moses to tell the Children of Israel, you will know that I am YHWH your God (Ex. 6:8). A S YOU
HAVE SEEN

E GYPT

TODAY YOU WILL

NEVER AGAIN SEE THEM FOR ETERNITY.

God thus brings ten plagues against Egypt, hardening Pharaohs heart each time, until he finally surrenders. Much has been written about the significance of the plagues (Currid 1997, 105-20), but it should be noted that the final plague is strangely reminiscent of Pharaohs earlier decree. Whereas Pharaoh had ordered all Israelites male newborns to be put to death, God kills all Egyptian firstborns. The New Way is, in many regards, the mirror opposite of the Other Way. Both ways subordinate everything to the One: God in Israel, Pharaoh in Egypt. Under both ways, the land cannot be owned by an individual. In Egypt it belongs to the Pharaoh (Gen. 47:20), while in the Holy Land it belongs to GodThe land you will not sell permanently, for the land is Mine. For you are sojourners and settlers in my midst (Lev. 25:23). Even when the Other Way and the New Way appear to agree, important differences remain. Both ways, on the surface, seem to be open for all to follow. In Egypt, a lowly Hebrew slave can become Viceroy. Under the New Way, as God insists throughout Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, you must love the proselyte [ger] like yourself (Lev. 19:34). In Egypt, not much is asked of the newcomera shave, a change of clothes and a new namebut he must remain forever separate, no matter how high his position. Even Tsaphenath Paneah, married to the daughter of the Priest of On, must eat alone for the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for it was an abomination to the Egyptians (Gen. 43:32). Under the New Way, on the other hand, the proselyte becomes an integral part of the community but the commitment to the law is total. As the Israelites leave Egypt in great haste, they fulfill Gods word who had earlier instructed them to empty out [venitsaltem] Egypt (Ex. 3:22). They leave with silver vessels, gold vessels and garments taken from the Egyptians (Ex. 12:36). By pointing out that in taking these vessels and garments, the Israelites emptied out Egypt, the biblical author seems to suggest that Egypt does not amount to much more than an accumulation of material possessions.

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Interpretation

On their way out of Egypt, the Israelites come before the Sea of Reeds where Moses announces: As you have seen Egypt today you will never again see them for eternity (Ex. 14:13). For Moses, God has exposed the true Egypt and shattered its image as an Edenic state of plenty. For pious men like Moses, Egypt is no more. Indeed, Pharaoh, the embodiment of Egypt, and his entire army are swallowed by the water (mayim) while the Israelites safely go on dry land (yabasha). The contrast between water and dry land evokes the act of separations through which God created the world in Genesis 1, where the verb to separate (lehavdil) appears five times (Gen. 1:4, 6, 7, 14, 18). Whereas the New Way seeks to uphold the distinctions created by these separations, as is evident for example in the dietary laws (Kass 1994), Egypt denies them, for example by blurring the distinction between the human and animal kingdoms (Sacks 1990, 394). By refusing to uphold the divine separations through which the world was created, the Egyptians are returned to the primordial waters where all boundaries are blurred. W HAT
HAVE YOU DONE TO US BY TAKING US OUT OF

E GYPT ?

With great signs and wonders God smites Pharaoh and carries the Israelites out of Egypt. Even God however cannot remove Egypt from the Israelites. So deeply ingrained in human nature is the longing for Egypt that it subsides even once Egypt is no more. The longing for Egypt, first expressed before the crossing of the Reed Sea, will in fact become a recurrent theme throughout the rest of the Torah. God, unlike Moses, knows that the people will yearn for Egypt, in spite of the oppression they suffered at the hands of Pharaoh. Even before taking the Israelites out of Egypt, God foresaw that the people would balk at the first opportunity and head back toward Egypt. He thus traced a route out of Egypt that avoided the land of the bellicose Philistines lest the people, in seeing a war, reconsider and return to Egypt (Ex. 13:17). It would in fact take much less than a war for the people to question the decision to leave Egypt. In the desert, the Israelites will express a desire to return to Egypt on seven different occasions (Ex. 14:12, 16:3, 17:3; Num. 11:20, 14:3-4, 20:5, 21:5). Threatened yet again by famine, the people, like their forefather Abraham, place their trust, not in divine providence, but in Egypt. For you have brought us out to this desert to kill this entire congregation by famine, the people clamor to Moses and Aaron, If only we had died in Egypt (Ex. 16:3). Unlike Abram however who knew nothing of YHWH, the Israelites had just witnessed a spectacular display of his might.

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

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Thirst, like famine, also brings out the Egyptian longing: Why did you raise us out of Egypt to kill me and my children and my livestock through thirst? (Ex. 17:3). Even when Gods providence is manifest with the daily gift of manna, the people yearn for the lavishness of Egypt. Who will feed us meat? the people cry out to Moses. We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for free and the melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now our soul is parched, there is nothing but this manna (Num. 11:4). Life in Egypt, they conclude, was better: Why did we leave Egypt? (Num. 11:20). Upon hearing the report of the spies about the dangers lying ahead in the Holy Land, the people decide they have had enough: Let us appoint a leader and let us return to Egypt (Num. 14:3). Although the reader rapidly grows weary of the peoples incessant refrain, their complaints demonstrate how resilient Egypt is. Human nature, as the biblical author forces us to conclude, will instinctively turn to Egypt not only in trying times, but even, it seems, in frugal times. The New Way simply cannot eradicate the Other Way. If, however, the New Way is to gain a foothold among the people, it must prove able to replace Egypt, as God did earlier with Isaac. Since the people long for the Edenic Egypt, God promises them, on 15 different occasions, that the Holy Land will be a land flowing with milk and honey. In Canaan the Israelites will find great and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses already filled with every good, wells already dug, orchards and olive trees that you did not plant (Deut. 6:10). In short, a luxurious land waiting to be occupied. There, as Moses announces, you will eat and be satiated (Deut. 6:11). Famine, and the Egyptian longings it gives rise to, will thus give way to satiety and prosperity. If prosperity will lead the Israelites to forget Egypt, it may very well lead them to forget God too. The children of the descendants from Egypt, born in the abundance of the Holy Land, might one day ask their parents why these testimonies, laws and decrees that YHWH our God commanded you? (Deut. 6:20, emphasis added). Why, in other words, not go the way of Egypt and only follow man-made laws? The children may still recognize YHWH as their God, but they will need to be reminded why the laws were commanded to all the Children of Israel for all times, and not just to the generation that left Egypt. The people are thus instructed to tell their children: Slaves were we to Pharaoh in Egypt and YHWH brought us out with a strong hand (Deut. 11:21). The children will be taught what their parents learned the hard way: the ways of manthe ways of Egyptlead to slavery.

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F OR I

AM

YHWH

WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT OF

E GYPT.

In the last three scrolls of the Torah, the Children of Israel have left Egypt but its memory remains ever present. God not only insists that each Israelite remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life (Deut. 16:3) but repeatedly presents himself as YHWH, your God, who brought you forth from the land of Egypt (Lev. 19:36). While most commandments are simply announced to the people, many are presented while invoking the memory of Egypt. There does not however seem to be a pattern or connecting thread uniting the latter. Perhaps a more discerning reader will figure one out. This much however appears obviousthe most important commandments are prefaced by remembering Egypt. In both presentations of the Ten Spoken Words (devarim), God, in the very first pronouncement, presents himself as YHWH, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Ex. 20:2 and Deut. 5:6). Israels God is the God who elevates, removes, and withdraws his people from Egypt (Lev. 11:45, Num. 15:41, Deut. 4:20). In Leviticus 25, when God lays out the laws pertaining to the Jubilee yearwhose centrality to the New Way is perhaps most evident in Jeremiah 34 where God attributes the collapse of the country to the failure to obey the sabbatical and jubilee lawsEgypt is mentioned three times. Lastly, the only justification given for the many forbidden sexual relationships detailed in Leviticus 18 is that Israel must never do the doings of the land of Egypt (Lev. 18:3), nor those of its brother Canaan. Egypt, after all, was the land where Pharaohs married their own sisters. The Torah forbids not only fraternal incest, but the uncovering of the nakedness of any next of kin (Lev. 18:6). More generally, the very act of lawgiving, of instituting a Law which governs the entire people, stands in stark contrast to the absolute despotism of Pharaonic Egypt. In the Torah, Gods Law has replaced the god-man Pharaoh. Even when, departing from the New Way, the people ask for a king, God anoints Saul only as a ruler over His heritage (I Sam. 10:1, emphasis added). While the books of Samuel and Kings do not say explicitly that the king is bound by the Law, there is no suggestion that he is not bound by it. In this regard, our own modern liberal democracies, grounded in the rule of law, echo something of the way of Israel, the way of Law. In preserving the memory of Egypt alive within the followers of the New Way, God insists that the Israelites distinguish between Egypt, the House of Bondage and symbol of the Other Way, and the Egyptians themselves, who also must endure Pharaonic despotism. Thus, Moses warns the people: You will not abhor an Egyptian for you were a sojourner in his

The Two Ways: Egypt and Israel in the Torah

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land (Deut. 23:8). The Torah even depicts individual Egyptianswhether it be Hagar caring for her son, Potiphar entrusting Joseph or even the Pharaohs daughter disobeying her father to save a Hebrew babyas decent people. Sacks cites a Midrashic story of God declining to participate in a celebration after the crossing of the Sea of Reeds as he was mourning the death of his Egyptian children (1990, 386). THAT M OSES PERFORMED EYES OF ALL I SRAEL .
BEFORE THE

With the death of Moses, the scroll of Deuteronomy ends, bringing the Torah to a close. Although liberated from the House of Slavery by the hand of God, the Israelites, through their appalling behavior in the desert, have shown that they remain slaves to the ways of Egypt. They prove unfit to enter the Holy Land and put in place the statutes, laws and ordinances of the New Way. God thus condemns them to wander aimlessly for 40 years in the desert and die there so that a new generation, unacquainted with Egypt, may lead the conquest of Canaan. God does spare Joshua and Caleb. Righteous as they may be, the biblical author may be indicating that in doing so, God allows Egypt to creep in to the Holy Land, albeit symbolically. The victory of the New Way is thus tainted. While God has asserted his providence and crushed Egypt, exposing it as land under the despotic control of a god-man, the people, for whom God displayed his might, have not been convinced. The tension between the ways of men and the ways of God remains. The penultimate verse of the Torah thus speaks of the land of Egypt, Pharaoh, all his slaves and all his land (Deut. 34:11). In a fitting way, the last scroll of the Torah does however end with the word Israel. The Torahs closing words seem to express the biblical authors hope that Israel, under the care of God, will ultimately triumph over Egypt.

ADDENDA 1. An analysis of word densities in the Torah in fact reveals that Egypt and Egyptians appear more often than Israel and Israelites in both the books of Genesis and Exodus (Andersen and Forbes 1989). In fact, for every mention of Israel in Genesis, there are two of Egypt. Furthermore, Egypt and Egyptians are mentioned more often than all the other biblical peoples in the Pentateuch.

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2. The modern reader should be careful not to import foreign concepts, such as freedom, into the Torah. If Egypt is depicted as the House of Slavery, the land of Canaan will not be a House of Freedom. There is in fact no word for freedom in the Torah. Freedom (_ houfsha or dror) is only mentioned incidentally, as the opposite of slavery (e.g. Lev. 19:20, 25:10). Slavery will exist, even under the New Way, but every seventh year, all Israelites slaves will be freed and, on the Jubilee year, return to their ancestral land (Ex. 21:2 and Lev. 25:39-43). Furthermore, the Torah contains many laws dealing with the manumission of slaves (e.g. Ex. 21:26 and Deut. 15:12). Thus, while life under the New Way will not be free in the modern sense, Egyptian slavery, from which there is no escape, will cease. REFERENCES Andersen, Francis I., and A. Dean Forbes. 1989. The Vocabulary of the Old Testament. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute. Currid, John D. 1997. Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. Greifenhagen, F. V. 2003. Egypt on the Pentateuchs Ideological Map: Constructing Biblical Israels Identity. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. Kass, Leon. 1994. Why the Dietary Laws? Commentary 97: 42-48. Maimonides, Moses. 1963. The Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by Shlomo Pines. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Pangle,Thomas. 1995. The Hebrew Bibles Challenge to Political Philosophy: Some Introductory Reflections. In Political Philosophy and the Human Soul: Essays in Memory of Allan Bloom, edited by Michael Palmer and Thomas Pangle. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield. Peet, T. Eric. 1924. Egypt and the Old Testament. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. Petrie, Flinders. 1911. Egypt and Israel. New York: E.S. Gorham. Sacks, Robert D. 1990. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Lewiston, ME: The Edwin Mellen Press. Voegelin, Eric. 1990. The Gospel and Culture. In Published Essays 1966-1985, vol. 12 of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, edited by Ellis Sandoz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Prince Harry: Shakespeares Critique of Machiavelli

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Prince Harry: Shakespeares Critique of Machiavelli


AV E RY P L AW UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH

aplaw@umassd.edu

Among the features specific to the text of Henry V its apparent property of giving rise to particularly acrimonious division of opinion has often been noted. To say that there are two camps sharply opposing each other is indeed almost a commonplace of critical literature, the one camp firmly applauding what they see as a panegyric upon, indeed a rousing celebration of, the mirror of all Christian Kings and most successful English monarch of all the histories; and the followers of the other camp deriding with no less conviction the exaltation of a Machiavellian conqueror in a rapacious, and, after all, senseless war. (Walch 1988, 63)

In recent years a small but growing literature has emerged urging the serious treatment of Shakespeare as a political thinker (Asquith 2005, Alexander 2004, Craig 2001, Spiekerman 2001, Alvis 2000, Joughin 1997, A. Bloom 1996). Despite the quality of much of this work, however, the depth and importance of Shakespeares political thought remains far from established in contemporary Anglo-American political theory. This article contributes to the case for Shakespeare as a serious political thinker by drawing on his often-neglected Histories. It does so by revealing a sharp, albeit implicit, critique of Niccolo Machiavellis political thought in Shakespeares Henriad (Henry IV, parts I and II, and Henry V), and particularly in the story of Prince Harrys maturation into Henry V. Here Shakespeare shows, contra Machiavelli, that political virtu can in practice create political legitimacy only at an insupportable human cost. This realist line of critique was both original and forceful, as this article will show. The article also contributes to an ongoing debate over whether Shakespeare had actually read Machiavelli (for overview, see Grady
2006 Interpretation, Inc.

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2002, 41-46, esp. fn. 44). Although Shakespeare does make explicit reference to Machiavelli in the plays, and, as Felix Raab has convincingly shown, Machiavelli was being quite widely read in England for a decade before Shakespeare wrote the Henriad, the balance of scholarly opinion today remains that Shakespeare had not read Machiavelli first hand (Raab 1964, 52-57). This article offers new reasons to think that he did. Finally, there is a longstanding and heated debate among readers and audiences over how to read Henry V, and in particular how to assess its title character. Is the play a nationalist paean to the mirror of all Christian kings (as presented in Oliviers 1942 film) or a politically subversive denunciation of a Machiavellian monster (as more clearly suggested in Kenneth Branaghs 1989 film)? This article suggests that both traditional interpretations are inadequate for several reasonsboth suffer from a tendency to read Henry V in isolation from the other history plays, both ignore the valid insights of the other, and by consequence both sharply underestimate the ambition and complexity of Shakespeares political thought. Once Henry V is placed in its dramatic context and read in relation to Machiavellis political thought, a central theme that emerges is the extreme difficulty of consolidating an illegitimate dynasty on the throne, regardless of the virtuosity of the prince. Harry himself is presented as a deliberately ambiguous figurea supremely gifted and inspiring prince who is prepared to commit terribly moral wrongs to unify his country and legitimate his dynasty; he is the most glorious of English kings, but also, ultimately, a failure. This re-reading revolves around two key claims: first, that Shakespeare portrays Harry as an exemplary Machiavellian prince, and second, that Shakespeare provides the material of a telling critique of Harrys policy and the Machiavellian thought that informs it. The second section of this article develops the former claim and the third the latter. The first section locates Henry V within the cycle of English Histories. I. T HE H ENRIAD
IN

S HAKESPEARE S E NGLISH H ISTORIES

Shakespeares cycle of eight sequential English Histories presents, in Herschel Bakers words, a story of sin and retribution (Baker 1974, 801). The sin is committed in the first play, Richard II, in which Henry Bullingbrook, the Duke of Herford, usurps his ineffectual cousin, Richard II. The punishment covers the remainder of the Histories through to the eventual accession of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, at the end of Richard III. The overall structure of the cycle is closest to that of tragedy: fall and gradual destruction ending in a suggestion of restored order (Shaw 1985, 61-67). In characteristic style, Shakespeare suggests multiple explanations for this tragic

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fall. As in Macbeth, which exhibits a similar narrative structure of regicide-disorder/punishment-restoration, Shakespeare intimates both a traditional supernatural explanation for events, and a more realist political-psychological logic at work. Shakespeare puts the providential explanation in the narrative backgroundsin disrupts the divine order and needs to be expiated before order can eventually be restored. In the dramatic foreground, however, he presents a more realistic, political-psychological rationale. Rule without legitimacy cultivates mounting disorders, both political and psychological, which collaborate to unravel the social fabric and to drive politics into a vicious cycle of rebellion and tyranny. In developing the background providential interpretation of the historical cycle, Shakespeare suggests a moral critique of Machiavellis work that parallels Machiavellis historical critics, from Innocent Gentillets ContreMachiavel through Frederick IIs Anti-Machiavel: Machiavellian politics is morally evil and ultimately incurs divine punishment. In elaborating the foreground political-psychological drama, however, Shakespeare opened a new and fertile front of Machiavelli critiquethat Machiavelli failed exactly where he himself was proudest, in providing a realistic account of human nature and the way in which it structures political possibilities (Machiavelli 1979, 78, 126-27). The main analytical focus of this essay will be on the politicalpsychological explanation for the historical cycles narrative arc, but this is not intended to deny or discount the traditional rhetoric of divine judgment which suffuses the plays. However bad a King Richard II may have been, he remained, as he himself never tires of pointing out, The deputy elected by the Lord (III.ii.57). According to traditional divine right doctrine, as Richard himself exclaims, Not all the water in the rough rude sea/Can wash the balm off from an anointed king (III.ii.54-55). Consequently his removal (and murder) are in a Christian climate soheinous, black, obscene a deed that they bring the entire land, but the House of Lancaster in particular, under Gods curse (IV.i.131). Following Richards removal, the Bishop of Carlisle foresees the terrible doom that has been called down upon England as a consequence of this unnatural act:
The blood of English shall manure the ground, And future ages groan for this foul act. Peace shall go to sleep with Turks and infidels, And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound. Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny

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Shall here inhabit, and this land be calld The field of Golgotha and dead mens skulls. (IV.i.137-44)

Of course Carlisle is right. The dramatic scope of this punitive strife is enormous, covering the remaining seven plays of the historical cycle. Misrule and mounting civil wars convulse the kingdom, finally culminating in Richard IIIs brief but bloody tyranny and ultimate defeat at Bosworth Field. In developing his theme of crime and punishment, however, Shakespeare encounters an enormous historical problemHenry V. Between the rebellion-filled reign of the usurper Henry (IV) Bullingbrook, and the disastrous reign of his grandson Henry VI that began the terrible civil Wars of the Roses, Shakespeare is confronted with the brief but undeniably glorious reign of Henry V, conqueror of France. Shakespeare has to deal with only one great king to confound Carlisles prophecy, but that one is historically inescapable. Shakespeares problem, then, is how he can fit Harrys reign into his story of regicide and retribution. I want to suggest that Shakespeare solves the problem by presenting Harry as an embodiment of Machiavellian political virtu who is able to seize fortuna, and briefly achieve unity at home through conquest abroad. Despite his remarkable victory at Agincourt, however, Shakespeare reminds us that Harrys success proves short-lived. He thus shows that a genuinely gifted and devoted Machiavellian prince can sometimes momentarily reverse the process of political degeneration associated with illegitimacy, but the effect lasts only as long as his tour-de-force performance as Warrior-King does. Moreover, the psychological demands of the performance prove unsustainable for the leader, and impose some heavy costs on the people. In short, the victory is pyrrhic. Of course, Harry never explicitly invokes the image of Machiavelli, and nor does any other character in reference to him. But this is only a testament to the success of Harrys political performance: he never appears publicly as the brutal political realist that we, the audience, are permitted to see that he is. In this way, Harry realizes one of Machiavellis central political precepts: one must know how to be bad while always appearing good (Machiavelli 1979, 127-28). It is through what he reveals directly and indirectly to the audience that we must assess Harrys character and what Shakespeare illustrates through him. In the following section, I examine Harrys Machiavellian character and behavior.

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II. H ARRY

AS AN

E XEMPLARY M ACHIAVELLIAN P RINCE

Machiavellis The Prince is a manual on how to rule successfully dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici. Both because it is addressed to Lorenzo, and because Machiavelli wants to confront the most difficult cases, the book is primarily concerned with the question of how a new prince, especially one whose legitimacy is unclear, can consolidate his position. As Machiavelli summarizes, The things written above, if followed prudently, make a new prince seem well established and render him immediately safer and more established in his state than if he had been in it for some time.they attract men much more and bind them to him more strongly than does ancient blood (Machiavelli 1979, 157). Indeed, some commentators have identified Machiavellis focus on the practical problem of legitimating governance as the root of his originality and influence. J. G. A. Pocock, for example, writes that his great originality is that of a student of delegitimized politics (Pocock 1975, 136). Machiavellis work then, and especially The Prince, speaks very directly to Harrys position, and Harry follows its precepts closely. The central action of Henry V is, of course, the war with France, and so it is probably the best place to begin to explore Harrys political strategy. As Shakespeare presents it (skipping the first two years of Harrys reign (1413-15) including the Lollard rebellion), the entirety of Harrys policy is immediate war with France: as Harry declares in the second scene, we have now no thought in us but France (I.ii.302). By relentlessly pursuing a war of conquest, Harry cynically fulfills his dying fathers Machiavellian advice to him, to busy giddy minds/With foreign quarrels (II Henry IV, IV.v.213-14). Where his father, however, was driven by his guilty conscience to talk endlessly about a crusade to the Holy Land, Harry sets his sights on the more practical target of France. Shakespeares depiction of Harry as exclusively focused on war coheres precisely with Machiavellis general advice to princes: A prince, therefore, must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he take anything as his profession but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only profession which befits one who commands (Machiavelli 1979, 124). Moreover, Nothing makes a prince more esteemed than great undertakings and examples of his unusual talents (150-51). Machiavelli offers Ferdinand of Aragon as a paradigm of the virtuous new prince because Ferdinand from being a weak rulerbecame, through fame and glory, the first king of Christendom. The key to his success, according to Machiavelli, was immediately attacking his neighbor (Granada) in order to consolidate his position at home. Further, Machiavelli stresses that he was able

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Interpretation

to maintain armies with money from the church. A new prince, then, especially one whose own position is problematic, should find a pretext and immediately go to war with a vulnerable neighbor and, if possible, get the church to underwrite the venture. The strategic character of Harrys policy of war with France is clearly suggested at the beginning of Henry V, where Shakespeare calls the casus belli into question. Act I, Scene I opens with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely discussing a bill urged in the Commons to confiscate the better half of [the churchs] possession (I.i.8). It quickly materializes, however, that the Archbishop has made an offer to the new King As concerning France in exchange for his opposition to the bill (I.i.79). To begin with, he has offered a substantial war chesta greater sum/Than ever at one time the clergy yet/Did to his predecessor part withal (I.i.79-81). Moreover, in the following scene, the Archbishop provides Harry with a highly obscure and convoluted justification for his claims to some certain Dukedoms in France (I.ii.247). Finally, when Harry cuts through all the verbiage and asks the big question, May I with right and conscience make this claim? Canterbury answers pregnantly The sin upon my head dread sovereign! (I.ii.96-97). Without any direct exercise of power, Harry gets the church not only to finance his war on his vulnerable neighbor, as Machiavelli recommends, but to take responsibility for it as well. In treating these events, Shakespeare diverges in important details from his historical sources with the apparent intent to suggest that the invasion has been Harrys plan all along (Holinshed 1974, 64-65; Bullough 1962, 352). Once Harrys claim has been confirmed by the countrys highest spiritual authority, he gives admission to the French ambassadors, who deliver the Dauphins contemptuous rebuff. When Harry responds with cold fury, his claim has expanded to my throne of France (I.ii.275). After this, Harry makes no further mention of the casus belli (although the injustice of the war continues to haunt the play). By the final act, however, Harry openly confesses to Katherine what his intention has been all along: I will have it all mine (V.ii.173-76). All of this emphasis on Harrys duplicity, however, only reaffirms something that Shakespeares audience, indeed any audience who has watched the previous plays, knowsHarrys claims to the French crown are obviously specious. He is not even the legitimate King of England. This fact gives a deeply ironic truth to Harrys proud declaration on his disembarkation from Dover, No king of England, if not king of France! (II.ii.193).

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Shakespeare went to some trouble, then, to cast doubt on the justness of Harrys war. Harry needs a war because of his own problem of legitimacy, and the corresponding threat of the kind of political instability that plagued his fathers reign, and he senses weakness in France. So he marries Machiavellis advice with an astute political opportunism in a great enterprise designed to showcase the military talents he had already began to exhibit at Shrewsbury. Harry then embarks on precisely the bold but realistic martial policy which Machiavelli champions (Machiavelli 1979, 94, 159-62). Indeed, once Harrys strategy becomes clear, one notices how carefully he has stagemanaged the opening court scene (I.ii) to cast himself in the role of the injured party and to create a credible pretext for war (Sullivan 1996, 135-39; Spiekerman 2001, 129-31). One notes, for example, that Harry has cannily sent his peremptory claim to the Dauphin (who is sure to send a disdainful response) rather than to King Charles who could actually decide its merit. One also notices Canterburys subtle suggestion that Harry has had a chance to learn the basic content of the French embassy before formally receiving the ambassadors, and one wonders whether the whole scene is not a meticulously crafted performance, rather the like the one that he long before practiced with Falstaff to deceive his father (I Henry IV, II.iv). Indeed, Shakespeare continuously portrays Harry, throughout the Henriad, practicing the art of deception, sometimes in a humorous vein, and sometimes deadly seriouslyfor example, in 1 Henry IV, II.ii, II.iv, III.ii, III.iii (so frequently in fact that Vickie Sullivan aptly dubs him the Machiavellian Prince of Appearance: Sullivan 1996, 125). At the end of the very first scene in which he appears, Harry gives a soliloquy revealing an elaborate plan to deceive everyone about his (dissolute) character.
Prince: .... By so much shall I falsify mens hopes, And like bright metal on a sullen ground My reformation, glittring oer my fault, Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes Than that which hath no foil to set it off (I Henry IV, I.ii. 197-215).

In the remaining Henriad, he goes on to realize his plan spectacularly. In this Harry immediately puts to work Machiavellis advice that a prince who wishes to accomplish great things must learn to deceive (Machiavelli 1979, 315). Moreover, this portrayal of Harry as, in John Blanpieds words, a natural actor, a dramatic genius of manipulation, seems to be entirely Shakespeares own invention (Blanpied 1983, 163; compare Holinshed 1974, 53-62).

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Interpretation

According to Machiavelli, the first necessity in consolidating power and preparing the nation for war is to neutralize potential threats to ones rule. Above all, Machiavelli emphasizes that a new prince of insecure title needs to win the support of the people, for his nobles will tend to think themselves his equals, and he will be unable to command them effectively unless he has popular favor, in which case he will find no one or very few, who are not ready to obey him (Machiavelli 1979, 107-8, 136-38, 158, 376). This too is part of Harrys plan. He wins the love and trust of the people as the Crown Prince by demonstrating that he is one of them. His youthful slumming mainly takes the form of scandalously associating with the notorious gang of Eastcheap thieves led by his popular friend, that villainous, abominable misleader of youth, Sir John Falstaff (II.iv.462-63). Indeed, Harry is introduced to us, and almost exclusively appears in I Henry IV, in Falstaff s tavern world. By soaking himself, in Fryes words, in every social aspect of the kingdom, Harry is becoming the entire nation in individual form, which is exactly what a king is (Frye 1986, 78). In other words, he deliberately creates the bond with his people that a monarch would usually (according to tradition) have by nature. Two quick examples suffice to capture the depth of the love Harry inspires. At the opening of the Second Act of Henry V we see the remnants of the Eastcheap gangBardolph, Nym, Pistol and the Hostess quarrelling and lamenting over the sudden illness that has struck their leader, Falstaff. The Hostess puts it aptly: The King has killd his heart (II.i.88). They have good reason to be angry and bitter with Harry, who has cruelly abandoned Falstaff and themselves. Yet, a few lines later we hear,
Hostess: Ah, poor heart! He [Falstaff] is so shakd of a burning quotidian tertian, that it is most lamentable to behold. Sweet men, come to him. Nym: The King hath run bad humors on the knight, thats the even of it. Pistol: Nym, thou hast spoke the right. His heart is fracted and corroborate. Nym: The King is a good king, but it must be as it may; he passes some humors and careers. Pistol: Let us condole the knight, for, lambkins, we will live. (II.i.118-28)

They care too much for the murderer of Falstaff to blame him. Again, Harry (in disguise) approaches Ancient Pistol on the night before Agincourt. Harry has seemingly led his army to certain

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destruction, and has also just approved the hanging of their mutual old friend, Bardolph, for a minor offence. When, however, Harry turns the conversation to the subject of the King, Pistol declares, The Kings a bawcock, and a heart of gold,/A lad of life, an imp of fame,/Of parents good, of fist most valiant./I kiss his dirty shoe, and from heart-string/I love the bully boy (IV.i.44-8). So Harry successfully puts Machiavellis advice to work by undertaking an elaborate performance that wins him the hearts of the people, and, by consequence, he controls his nobles: as Westmoreland assures him in the first court scene, Never King of England/Had nobles richer and more loyal subjects (I.ii.126-27). Yet, since men are a sorry lot, (self-serving, shortsighted, gullible, usually wicked and treacherous) and love can be fickle, Machiavelli emphasizes that it is even more prudent to be feared than loved (Machiavelli 1979, 86, 95, 123, 131, 134, 181). Fear is especially valuable to a prince because it will never abandon you (131). While Machiavelli admits that it is difficult to join [fear and love] together, he nonetheless insists that a prince should like to be both one and the other. Harry works hard to be feared as well as loved. His justice is harsh (consider the slaughter of the French prisoners he orders at Agincourt, or the hanging of Bardolph), regardless of his personal feelings for the condemned (IV.vi.37-38; III.vi). He always quickly carries through on his threats (the rapid invasion of France, for example), and some of his threats are savage indeed: at Harfleur, for example, he shouts
K. Henry: . Therefore, you men of Harflew Take pity of your town and of your people [i.e., and surrender] If notwhy, in a moment look to see The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand [Defile] the locks of your shrill-shriking daughters; Your fathers taken by their silver beards, And their most reverend heads dashd to the walls; Your naked infants spitted on pikes, Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confusd Do break the clouds. What say you? Will you yield, and this avoid? Or guilty in defense, be thus destroyd? (III.iii.27-43)

Fortunately, faced with so vivid a prospect, the town surrenders and Harry is not required to carry through this threat. Nonetheless, it is clear that he cultivates fear, both in his enemies and in his own subjects. Cambridge affirms the success of the King in words that directly echo Machiavelli when he insists

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Never was monarch better feard and lovd/Than is your majesty (II.ii.25-26). Machiavelli gives further tough advice to the prince in dealing with his subjects and friends (Machiavelli 1979, 126). Given the exigencies of politics, a prince must be ready to break his bonds of obligation, even his promises, when such an observance of faith would be to his disadvantage and when the reasons that made him promise are removed (134). The single historical incident Machiavelli praises most frequently was Junius Brutus condemning his own children to death when he discovered that they were plotting to overthrow the state (for example, 219, 221, 353, 356). Brutus gesture was a powerful expression of a leaders devotion to the common good. This is exactly what Harry does in the very moments following his coronation. Falstaff has ridden all night to be there for the event, declaring the laws of England are at my commandment. Blessed are they that have been my friends, and woe to my Lord Chief Justice! (II Henry IV, V.iii.136-38). He bursts from the crowd at the parade following the coronation, crying My king, my Jove! I speak to thee my heart! The King answers,
King: I know thee not, old man, fall to thy prayers. How ill white hairs become a fool and jester! I have long dreamt of such a kind of man, So surfeit swelld, so old, and so profane; But being awakd, I do despise my dream. Reply not to me with a fool-born jest, Presume not that I am the thing I was For God doth know, so shall the world perceive, That I have turnd away my former self; So will I those that kept me company. (V.v.47-59)

Harry proceeds to banish Sir John ten miles from his presence, and the old knight, publicly rejected, withers and soon dies. The metaphor Harry uses in the last two linesturning away his former self, banishing it along with his friendsis especially revealing. The image is strikingly echoed in Sigmund Freuds definition of repression: The essence of repression lies simply in turning something away and keeping it a distance from the conscious (Freud 1957, 147). As he becomes king then, Harry rejects a former part of himself, a choice that may prove more psychologically damaging than he realizes. On the other hand, this gesture of public repudiation, more than anything else, persuades the leading nobles that Harrys conversion is genuine, and earns their trust. So, although Harrys brutality is emotional rather than physical, and is directed at a father figure rather than a child, the political effect is much the same.

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Having then followed Machiavellis advice and established his supreme commitment to the public good, and won the love and fear of the people and the loyalty of the nobles, Harry is in a position on his accession to Assume the port of Mars and initiate the war that will finally consolidate unity at home and legitimize his dynasty. In undertaking the enterprise, Harry again follows Machiavellian advice (I.i.6). First, he must ferret out and extinguish any weak links among his powerful subjects who may conspire with the enemy against him (Machiavelli 1979, 80-84, 136-39, 357-74). In particular, Machiavelli recommends that he should scrutinize those for whom he has done too many favors (362). Once identified, these enemies should be annihilated in one swift sweep, because injuries should be inflicted all at the same time, for the less they are tasted, the less they offend (106-7). Further, when the prince has to make such harsh decisions, he must delegate distasteful tasks to others; pleasant ones [he] should keep for [him]self (139). One prominent example will be sufficient to illustrate Harrys masterful application of these principles. Even before he leaves Southampton, Harrys active intelligence uncovers a plot on his life among some of his most favored advisors. It is discovered that Lord Scroop, the Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey have accepted bribes from the French to murder their King. Rather than simply arrest them, however, Harry characteristically feigns ignorance and plays an elaborate scene with them in which he proposes to pardon a man accused of speaking abusively of the King. He elicits predictable protests from Scroop, Cambridge and Grey that he is being too merciful. At this point, he reveals his knowledge of their plot, and when they predictably submit themselves to his mercy, he responds The mercy that was quick in us of late,/By your own counsel is suppressd and killd./You must not dare (for shame) to talk of mercy,/For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,/As dogs upon their masters (II.ii.79-83). Harry then condemns them to immediate death. Not only, then, does he uncover and eliminate his enemies among his peers, but he tricks them into taking responsibility for their own merciless dispatch. In essence, he deflects responsibility for their condemnation onto the victims themselves. Indeed, this is the same slight of hand that he employs at Harfleur, when he insists that should the city fail to surrender, they themselves will be guilty in defense of the awful reign of murther, spoil and villainy he threatens to unleash (III.iii.32; Sullivan 1996, 139-40). Harry then clearly exhibits the Machiavellian wisdom that savage and immediate punishment is necessary, but that responsibility must be deflected elsewhere.

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By persistently deflecting responsibility for his harsh decisions, Harry protects the purity of his reputation, particularly in the eyes of his own people. This is no easy task, however, for as Machiavelli teaches, a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things by which men are considered good, for in order to maintain that state he is often obliged to act against his promise, against charity, against humanity, and against religion (Machiavelli 1979, 135). This is not, however, a license for unrestrained evil. Machiavelli holds that as long as possible, he should not stray from the good, but he should know how to enter into evil when necessity commands. Still, in the eyes of his own people, he should appear, upon seeing and hearing him, to be all mercy, all faithfulness, all integrity, all kindness, all religion. And there is nothing more necessary than to seem to possess this last quality [i.e., religion]. It is for these reasons that virtu, especially for a new prince, is, in part, an art of deceptiona skill in which Harry excels. He is perceived, in the Choruss words, as the mirror of all Christian kings (II.o.16). Indeed, no king in Shakespeare defers publicly to God half as often as Harry does. It will come as no surprise that in the actual prosecution of the war, Harry follows Machiavellis maxims carefully. In virtually every important respect, then, Harrys strategy and conduct faithfully reflect Machiavellis advice. While this consistent coherence does not prove anything (it might, of course, be purely coincidental), its systematicity provides some grounds for thinking first that Shakespeare was familiar with Machiavellis writing, or at least the key points of his actual texts, and second that Shakespeare deliberately presents Harry as an embodiment of Machiavellian virtu. Two brief further points, one textual and one thematic, help to consolidate these suggestions. The first point concerns two textual elements whose role in the play has long baffled critics: (1) the continual pedantic arguments among the officers, and Captain Fluellen in particular, about the true disciplines of war, that is, the Roman wars, and (2) the fascination with comparing Harry with the great military leaders of antiquity which continues throughout the campaign (for example, III.ii.72, 58, 81, 96-97, 129, 140). Fluellen is persistently frustrated that Harrys army is not able to attain the disciplines of the pristine wars of the Romans (III.ii.81-82). Encamped noisily on the eve of Agincourt, for example, he characteristically remonstrates, if you would take the pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the Great, you shall find, I warrant you, no tiddle taddle nor pibble babble in Pompeys camp (IV.i.68-71). During the battle, he pauses, inexplicably, to offer an extended discursive comparison of Harry to Alexander the Great. First, he

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spends about thirty lines establishing that both Harry and Alexander were born in towns through which a river ran. He then elaborates a second point of comparison:
Fluellen: If you mark Alexanders life well, Harry of Monmouths life is come after it indifferent well, for there is figures in all things. Alexander, God knows, and you know, in his rages and his furies, and his wraths, and his cholers and his moods, and his displeasures, and his indignations, and also being a little intoxicates in his prains, did, in his ales and his angers, look you, kill his best friend, Clytus. Gower: Our King is not like him in that; he never killd any of his friends. Fluellen: It is not well done, mark you now, to take the tales out of my mouth, ere it is made and finished. I speak but in figures and comparisons of it: as Alexander killd his friend Clytus, being in his ales and his cups; so also Harry Monmouth, being in his right wits, turnd away the fat knight with the great belly doublet. He was full of jests, and gipes and knaveries, and mocksI have forgot his name. Gower: Sir John Falstaff. (IV.vii.31-51)

Fluellens untimely meditations are clearly calculated to provide some comic relief and to remind us again of Harrys betrayal of Falstaff, but the question remains, why does the reminder take this odd pedantic form? The answer, I suggest, is that these passages ridicule Machiavellis distinctive method of learning princely virtue by studying and imitating the great leaders of antiquity. In The Prince Machiavelli tells us that the prince must read histories and in them study the deeds of great men; he must see how they conducted themselves in wars; he must examine the reasons for their victories and for their defeats in order to avoid the latter and to imitate the former, and above all else he must do as some distinguished man before him has done (Machiavelli 1979, 126). This is of course Machiavellis own method and it is his knowledge and skill in this domain (including allusions to both Pompey and Alexander) that he believes gives special value to his work (78). A deliberate reference to Machiavelli then provides a plausible explanation of these many odd passages in the play, and in particular of the introduction of the new character of Fluellen in Henry V. This reductio ad absurdum of Machiavellis method would also support the more general critique outlined in the next section. Such a reference, however, argues not mere familiarity with Machiavellis main ideas and method, but also with the

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specific texture of his writing. The second point further reinforces the plays concern with Machiavellian politics, not so much at the level of method, but in terms of an astute understanding of Machiavellis themes. If, as I have suggested, Shakespeare deliberately presents Harry as an exemplary Machiavellian prince, then a strong case can be made that Shakespeare understands Machiavellis work more acutely than other Elizabethan dramatists (or indeed Machiavellis prominent critics of the time). Anthony Parel, for example, forcefully shows that Elizabethan dramatists like Marlowe and Jonson, following the dominant scholarship, treat Machiavelli as a coldly amoral teacher of self-aggrandizement through any means necessaryas exemplified, for instance, in the Machiavelli who is prologue to Marlowes The Jew of Malta or Jonsons Sir Politic Would-be. These figures, however, reflect meanly truncated readings of Machiavelli (Parel 1972, 22). In fact, as seen above, Machiavelli insists that princes should never divert from the good except when necessity commands. He does not deny (amorally) that what necessity may sometimes require is, in fact, evil. Indeed, he roundly condemns those who enter into such evil unnecessarily: It cannot be called skill to kill ones fellow citizens, betray ones friends, be without faith, without pity, and without religion; by these methods one may indeed gain power, but not glory (Machiavelli 1979, 104). The critical question for Machiavelli, then, is what kinds of ends or necessities do justify cruel or evil methods. As he puts it, I believe that this depends on whether cruelty be well or badly used. Well used are those cruelties that areconverted into the greatest possible benefits for the subjects (Machivelli 1979, 106). Thus, for example, Machiavelli forgives Romulus murder of his brother Remus because it was necessary for the foundation and stability of Rome, and its eventual emergence as the greatest Republic that humanity has ever known. In short, the prince should strive to be good, but when public needs demand, his high office obligates him to commit evil for the good of his people. Harry is Machiavellian not only in his political strategies, but also in the deeper sense that the evils he does serve pressing public purposes. After all, his great projects of conquering France, politically unifying England, and securing his own Lancastrian line on the throne are all seemingly in the English public interest. Indeed, the brutal insurrections and repressions that characterized his fathers reign, and the savage civil wars of his sons, show how

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necessary Harrys project of legitimation and unification is for England. In short, Harrys Machiavellian policy serves patriotic ends. As Herschel Baker has acutely observed, We see Harry at his best, in fact, when he fulfils his patriotic function, for example as General, inspiring the indomitable English against their traditional French enemy: On, on, you [noblest] English,/Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof! (III.i.17-18; Baker 1974, 933). He is probably most memorable facing the fearful odds at Agincourt:
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he neer so vile And gentlemen in England, now a-bed, Shall think themselves accursd they were not here; And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispins day. (IV.iii.56-67)

In so forcefully depicting Harry as a realistic patriot, capable of powerful manipulation (and even evil) in pursuit of public ends, Shakespeare represents Machiavellis ideal of political virtu more compellingly than any playwright (or critic) of the period. This achievement argues not only a familiarity, but indeed a deep understanding of Machiavellis most famous text. The question I want to turn to now is what Shakespeare shows us about this Machiavellian political virtu. III. S HAKESPEARE S C RITIQUE OF M ACHIAVELLI : H OW H ARRY IS E ATEN BY THE C ROWN In this final section I want to draw attention to how Shakespeare portrays the human effect of Machiavellian political virtu, particularly on Harrys character. In Act IV, Scene V of II Henry IV, Harry describes himself symbolically remonstrating his fathers crown for what it has done to the old man: The care of thee depending/Hath fed upon the body of my father;/Therefore thou best of gold are [worst of] gold./... thou... Hast eat thy bearer up (158-64). Here Harry is not only perceptive about his fathers fate, but anticipates his own. He will be consumed by his crown, and with his death his project will collapse. In essence, the Henriad is dominated by two intertwined stories. The first is the story of Harrys process of maturation into a great King who unifies a factionalized England in a glorious war of conquest. In this project, Harry is, as the poet W.B. Yeats observed, as remorseless and undistinguished as some natural force (Yeats 1907, 63). It is not just the relentless force of Harrys performance that attracts attention, but the degree to

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which he himself, his personality, is subsumed (and therefore undistinguished) within it. Yeats adds the following remark which points to the second and countervailing element of the play: the finest thing in his play is the way his old companions fall out of it brokenhearted or on their way to the gallows. In contrast with the spectacle of kingly greatness, Shakespeare quietly but persistently points to the terrible cost of Harrys kind of political virtumost obviously for his former friends, but also implicitly for his people, and for his own inner life. Shakespeare allows us fewer glimpses into Harrys inner life as the cycle proceeds, but what we do see (and can infer) reveals a man with a heart that is as fracted and corroborate as Falstaff s on his deathbed. The relationship between these two aspects of Harrys character can be more precisely described in the language of medieval and renaissance political theology which Shakespeare often employsspecifically, the two bodies of the King. As E. H. Kantorowicz memorably observed, the king at the time was held not only to have the same individual or natural body as other persons, but also a second body politic or sometimes sacramental or ceremonial body, encompassing the entire nation (Kantorowicz 1957, 1-24). A king, in short, is both a unique individual person, and at the same time all of his countrymen rolled into one. What Harry means when he charges his fathers crown with consuming him is that his ceremonial body as King, symbolized by the crown, has overtaxed his individual, natural body, and left it a spent husk. At the end, as Frye summarizes, Henry IV is perpetually exhausted and he cant sleep (Frye 1986, 80). His body is a frail and wasted wreck. Harrys hope for avoiding his fathers fate is two-fold. First, having merely succeeded to an usurpers crown, his own legitimacy may be easier to maintain than his fathers. Second, he hopes to succeed in the project that his father could never quite get off the ground (distracted as he was by rebellions)a major foreign war that will unify the nation and legitimate his dynasty. To this task he bends all of his extraordinary political virtu, carefully following Machiavellis dictums. In the end, however, his hopes are forlorn, and despite all his political virtuosity, and even his remarkable military victory, we watch the same process of the gradual exhaustion of individual persona set in, although more subtly than in his fathers case. Finally, in the Epilogue of Henry V we hear that Harry soon collapses and, as Shakespeares stage oft showed, his kingdom loses France, degenerates into civil war, and bleeds. His son will be the last and most disastrous Lancastrian King.

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How then does Shakespeare subtly show Harrys consumption by the crown? In assessing Harrys inner life, we must rely on inference, for as we progress through the Henry plays, he becomes increasingly reluctant to speak directly to the audience. In I Henry IV, Harry immediately makes the audience co-conspirators by informing them confidentially of his plans, and later of his various practical jokes on Falstaff. In Henry V, however, Harry gives only one soliloquy, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt. In fact, as Harry ages, he becomes, in Harold Blooms words, increasingly veiled, so that by Henry V, Shakespeare does not let us locate Harry/Henry Vs true self (H. Bloom 1998, 323). Indeed, it may be that Harrys true self is gradually ceasing to be there at all, progressively subsumed, as Matthew Wikander suggests, by his public, ceremonial function (Wikander 1993, 298-99). The first and probably the most important blow to Harrys personal identity is struck before Henry V opens, although it resonates through the playthe rejection of Falstaff, a betrayal of which Shakespeare continually reminds the audience. The tavern sub-plot, for example, is concerned through the end of the second act with Falstaff s off-stage death, culminating in the Hostesss affecting report of his last minutes (II.iii.9-26). The Kings responsibility is continually emphasized. It is also significant that this report is directly preceded by the scene revealing Harrys own betrayal by his close confidant, Lord Scroop, and portraying Harrys towering rage at this infidelity (II.ii). One cannot help but suspect that Harrys long, impassioned denunciation of Scroop as a cruel/ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature is prompted in part by his own troubled conscience (94-95). Shakespeare never allows Harry or the audience to entirely forget, even in the flights of patriotic rhetoric, that Harrys plan has from the beginning been premised on the murderous betrayal of his friends, and indeed of the man he was before he became king. It is from the twin point of royal accession and betrayal that he becomes, like his father, inscrutable and isolated (Frye 1986, 63-64). Although admired by his lords, for example, none is very close to Harry, and certainly none know his plans or the worries of his inner mind. As he tells the loyal Erpingham before his soliloquy, I and my bosom must debate a while/And then I would no other company (IV.i.31-32). No doubt, some of Harrys reticence to share his thoughts is motivated by the volatile knowledge that is at the center of his plans: the war with France is an unjust one motivated by his need to promote unity and to establish the legitimacy of his dynasty. His one policy then, while patriotic, is also deeply sinful. The responsibility he bears for the unjust war is expressed to him in rather terrifying terms when he walks in disguise among his troops on

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the eve of Agincourt, trying to boost morale. A soldier, Michael Williams, observes,
But if the cause [of war] be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs, and arms, and heads, choppd off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all, We died at such a placesome swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. Now, if these men do no die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it. (IV.i.134-45)

Harry, of course, disagrees, but he does not for a moment challenge the premise of the unjustness of the war. He tries, rather feebly, to deny his responsibility for the deaths of his soldiers even if the cause be wrong. He suggests that Williams argument is tantamount to charging a father with wickedness if a son he sends on a merchant voyage sinfully miscarries at sea (148). However, the argument is obviously flawed since in Harrys father/son case the sinful error is imputed to the son, whereas in Williams king/soldier case it is the King who initiated an unjust war and caused the soldiers death. Indeed, according to Harrys own logic, if the voyage itself is sinful, then responsibility should rest with the father/king (Lane 1994, 61-67). Moreover, Harry seems to recognize the weakness of this argument for he quickly shifts to an alternate line, calling war [Gods] beadle his vengeance wherein men are punished for before-breech of the Kings laws (IV.i.169-71). In short, war is the means by which God executes men at least some of whom are guilty of former, unprosecuted crimes. Evidently, this is even less convincing than the first argument. Whatever rationalizations he gives his soldiers, then, the war and its corpses and cripples remain a black matter for his conscience, and he knows it, but it is a guilt he cannot so much as acknowledge. Under the protection of his disguise, however, he is at least able, when asked if he thinks the King is afraid, to articulate something of his delicate position. He tells his soldiers, I think the King is but a man, as I am. all his senses have but human conditions. His ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man. Therefore when he sees reason of fear, as we do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are; yet in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dishearten his army (IV.i.101-12). He can neither be told of the true desperation of their situation, nor can he show the natural fear that should accompany it (nor the heavy guilt he bears). His responsibilities require deceptions, which leave his true self wholly isolated, with terrible burdens to carry.

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Where we get the clearest glimpse into the Kings inner life is in his one soliloquy in Henry V, on the eve of Agincourt, the only time we see Harry alone in the play. Hopelessly outnumbered, his army exhausted and sick, he finally takes a moment to escape from his continual performance of the role of king. So what then does Harry tell us in this single moment of intimacy? He speaks passionately and at length about the draining weight of his ceremonial role virtuously performed, and he reveals that he is suffering from his fathers fatal illnesshe cannot sleep:
Upon the King! let us our lives, our souls, Our debts, our careful wives, Our children, and our sins lay on the King! We must bear all. O hard condition, Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath Of every fool whose sense no more can feel But his own wringing! What infinite hearts ease Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy! And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony? And what art thou, thou idle Ceremony?... [he condemns the emptiness of ceremony for some twenty lines] No, thou proud dream, That playst so subtilly with a kings repose. I am a king that find thee; and I know [he dismisses the symbols of his ceremonial office for six lines] No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony, Not all these, laid in bed majestical, Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave; [he longingly praises the restorative power of sleep for sixteen lines] (IV.i.230-84)

This glimpse into Harrys soul confirms what the remainder of the play suggests that Harry is under enormous physical and emotional strain precipitated by the relentless demands of his project of self-legitimation. He is exhausted, but he cannot sleep. He feels his life being reduced to empty ceremony. He yearns for the hearts ease he knew briefly in the common life at Eastcheap. Yet, at bottom, he knows that he himself is responsible for (or complicit in) the choices that have demolished the quality of his life, as he goes on to indicate. After a brief interruption by Erpingham, he continues, now in the form of a prayer.
O God of battles, steel my soldiers hearts, Possess them not with fear! .

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Not to-day, O Lord, O, not to-day, think not upon the fault My father made in compassing the crown! I Richards body have interred new, And on it have bestowed more contrite tears, Than from it issued forced drops of blood. Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay, Who twice a day their witherd hands hold up Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built Two chauntries, where the sad and solemn priests Sing still for Richards soul. More will I do; Though all that I can do is nothing worth, Since that my penitence comes after all, Imploring pardon. (IV.i.289-305)

His prayer ends in despair. Harrys mind is drawn inevitably back to the unsettled crime which underlies his whole regime, and which has given rise to his whole long history of deception and personal betrayalsRichard IIs usurpation and murder. This is the first and only time that he speaks of the crime. At first, he appeals weakly to the care he has shown Richards remains, but hired mourners can hardly expiate the crime, and he knows it. He is trying to buy forgiveness without real penitence, which would entail at very least public recognition of the crime, if not renunciation of his ill-gotten position. Otherwise, he is just imploring pardon, not repenting. His prayers are, therefore, nothing worth. Of course, were he simply to acknowledge his fathers crime he might very well set off the same cycle of rebellions that plagued his fathers reign and will make England bleed during his sons. Insofar as he adopts the duties of regency, Harry could plausibly argue that he has a patriotic duty not to acknowledge the crime and endanger the kingdom to ease his own conscience. This duty goes with the ceremonial role of king. That is certainly Machiavellis line. The Machiavellian rationale of patriotic ends does not, however, relieve Harrys spirit. It may wash the crime and all that follows it out of the ceremonial body, but it cannot lift it from the natural man; it cannot give him hearts ease. Harry admits this dilemma to himself and then continues t o prosecute his war, leading his tiny, bedraggled army against the vast French host. He wins a miraculous victory, but framed by his soliloquy and the Epilogues report of the ultimate failure of his project of establishing the Lancastrian line, it rapidly becomes clear that the victory does not free Harry quite the opposite.

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The final Act of the play illustrates the complete consumption of Harrys personal identity by his regal function. The central action of the Act is Harrys courting of the French Princess Katherine. The action reveals that even Harrys love and marriage are mere instruments of grand strategy, formal ceremonials, without real feeling or intimacy. Of course, Katherine has already been won by right of conquest, as Harry reminds everyone in attendance: Yet leave our cousin Katherine here with us:/She is our capital demand, comprisd/Within the fore-rank of our articles (ii.95-97). As soon as they are alone (except for Katherines maid, Alice), Harry peremptorily declares his love, and asks for hers in return. Language, however, emerges as a barrier, for Katherine speaks no English, and her maid little more. Harry is immediately driven to impatience. He reminds her pointedly that he is the conqueror of France, so that in marrying him she would become its queen (and Englands)and at any rate, that she has little choice. Their union is a political necessity. He tries again:
Henry: But, Kate, dost thou understand thus much English? Canst thou love me? Kath.: I cannot tell. Henry: Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? Ill ask them. Come, I know thou lovest me (192-97)

Finally, the lady relents. If it will please her father, it will also content [her] (247, 250). There is no love offered here and none given. Harrys long loneliness of command then is rewarded by a wife who cannot love, nor even understand him. The one thing which, if genuine, might actually render his tormented isolation bearable is precisely what is denied to him, and transformed into that which he most hates, idle ceremony, and a rather brusque one at that. The play then ends with a final pregnant juxtaposition. Harry ceremonially recognizes Kate as his queen and prays that their marriage and realms prosprous be (374). He is immediately followed by the Chorus who reminds us that they will most emphatically not be. Harry lived but small time, and his infant son, crowned Henry VI, lost France, and made his England bleed (Epilogue 5, 12). Shakespeare does not explicitly connect the dots for us, but he lays them out neatly enough, and even more clearly for his historical audience, who knew well that Harry collapsed and died on campaign, prematurely aged, mere months after his victory at Agincourt, still trying to pacify France (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2005). In short, Harry, like

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his Machiavellian father, drove himself to exhaustion and death in pursuit of legitimacy, consumed by the demands of his crown. It is no coincidence, from the perspective of Shakespeares critique, that Machiavellis own quintessentially virtuous prince, Cesare Borgia, is similarly struck down young by an untimely illness (unfortunately, just at the moment his father, Pope Alexander IV, also succumbed to exhaustion and illness), and his political project collapsed (Machiavelli 1979, 100-103). In fact, few of Machiavellis heroes, including Alexander, live to enjoy their triumphs. For Machiavelli, these are fickle turns of fortune. Shakespeare, however, suggests a more prosaic explanation, the limits of what human beings can bear. So, through Harrys life and performance, Shakespeare provides a critique of Machiavellis political thought. He is not satisfied, like most critics of the day, condemning Machiavellis immorality. Instead, he illustrates historically that the demands of sustained political virtuthe ontinuous deception and manipulation, the subordination of friendship and love to the burdens of state, the inability to recognize and redress the crimes of the past, the insatiable demands of a statecraft of war for self-legitimationare in the end too much even for the ideal Machiavellian prince to sustain. No man can live without a life of his own. Machiavellian virtu consumes life, and reduces it to idle ceremony. Shakespeare illustrates, in short, that Machiavellis prince is a psychological impossibility. In illustrating the limits of human nature, Shakespeare draws attention to a major internal tension in Machiavellis writing. Machiavelli insists that human nature is fickle, short-sighted and self-serving, and then proceeds to make enormous demands of a prince, especially a new prince (and especially in a corrupt society): he must monopolize power, isolate himself, continuously deceive his subjects, commit sins and betrayals as necessary, and otherwise sacrifice himself to the long-term public good (Machiavelli 1979, 127, 134, 200, 223, 277). Yet the prince is no less human than his subjects. How then can such virtu be a reasonable expectation? Moreover, even if a prince of ideal virtu somehow appears, how could he follow Machiavellis advice without twisting his own nature and imposing terrible hardships on his own people (such as wars of conquest)? Shakespeare suggests that such a course is likely to be self-destructive. Finally, even if a prince were to accomplish all that Machiavelli demands, would all his success not depend on the wildly unlikely contingency of an equally fortunate succession? And otherwise, would legitimacy not soon collapse after the virtuous prince did? For all these reasons, Shakespeare seems to suggest, legitimacy cannot be manufactured by princely

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virtu alone, but must arise, if it is to prove durable, in some way consistent with the traditional moral foundations of a society. Read this way, Henry V reinforces rather than disrupts the main crime-punishment-expiation theme of the historical cycle. In the centuries since the composition of Henry V, the first question posed in the last paragraph has become a mainstay of Machiavelli criticism (for example, Anglo 1969, 202-9; Parel 1972, 45-57, 59-67, 84-85). The second question, and especially its psychological aspect on which Shakespeare particularly focuses, has also gained credibility. The modern science of psychology, for example, today stresses the damage to ego integrity produced by repression and continual performance of adopted social roles (see Murray 1996, 103-45). Individuals need refuge simply to be themselves among others. They require recognition from, and genuine exchange with, others. These basic human needs stand as an important justification of contemporary liberal-constitutional politics which carve out a protected space for the private individual and his/her relationships through the provision of guaranteed civil rights and the limitation of governmental authority. If, however, Shakespeare was setting the foundations of this argument over four hundred years ago in the course of showing that Machiavelli, the famed political realist, was not realistic enough, it becomes difficult to deny him a rightful place in the history of political thought. On the other hand, it becomes very easy to make the case that the political ideas developed in his plays warrant more rigorous and sustained attention.

REFERENCES (References to Shakespeares plays are drawn from the Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974.) Alexander, Catherine, ed. 2004. Shakespeare and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Anglo, Sydney. 1969. Machiavelli: A Dissection. London: Victor Gollancz. Alvis, John, ed. 2000. Shakespeare as a Political Thinker. Washington: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Asquith, Claire. 2005. Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare. New York: PublicAffairs.

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Baker, Herschel. 1974. Henry V. In The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company. Blanpied, John W. 1983. Time and the Artist in Shakespeares English Histories. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. Bloom, Allan, ed. 1996. Shakespeares Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bloom, Harold. 1998. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books. Bullough, Geoffrey, ed. 1962. Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, Volume 4. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Craig, Harold. 2001. Of Philosophers and Kings. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2005. http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon35.html. Frederick II of Prussia. 1981. Anti-Machiavel. Edited and translated by Paul Sonnino. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. Freud, Sigmund. 1957. The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume 20. Edited by J. Strachey. London: Hogarth. Frye, Northrop. 1986. The Bolingbroke Plays. In Northrop Frye on Shakespeare, edited by Robert Sadler. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whitehead. Gentillet, Innocent. 1968. Anti-Machiavel (originally Contre-Machiavel). Edited by C. Edward Rathe. Geneva: Librairie Droz. Grady, Hugh. 2002. Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Montaigne. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Holinshed, Raphael. 1976. Chronicles: England, Scotland and Ireland, Volume 3. New York: AMS Press. Kantorowicz, E.H. 1957. The Two Bodies of the King. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Joughin, John, ed. 1997. Shakespeare and National Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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Lane, Robert. 1994. When Blood is their Argument: Class, Character and Historymaking in Shakespeares and Branaghs Henry V. ELH Volume 61, Number 1. Machiavelli, Niccolo. 1979. The Prince and Discourses on Livy. In The Portable Machiavelli, edited and translated by Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa. New York: Viking Penguin. Murray, Peter. 1996. Shakespeares Imagined Persons. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Parel, Anthony. 1972. The Political Calculus: Essays on Machiavellis Philosophy. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press. Pocock, J. G. A. 1975. The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Raab, Felix. 1964. The English Face of Machiavelli: A Changing Interpretation 1500-1700. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Shaw, Catherine. 1985. The Tragic Sub-Structure of the Henry IV Plays. Shakespeare Survey 38. Spiekerman, Tim. 2001. Shakespeares Political Realism. Albany: State University of New York Press. Sullivan, Vickie. 1996. Princes to Act: Henry V as the Machiavellian Prince of Appearance. In Shakespeares Political Pageant, edited by Joseph Alulis and Vickie Sullivan. London: Rowman and Littlefield. Walch, G. 1988. Henry V as Working-House of Ideology. Shakespeare Survey 40. Wikander, Matthew H. 1993. The Protean Prince Hal. Comparative Drama, Volume 26, Number 4. Yeats, William Butler. 1907. Ideas of Good and Evil. London: A.H. Bullen.

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The Unbloody Sacrifice: The Catholic Theology of Shakespeares Merchant of Venice


DENNIS TETI dennis@familink.com

The bread that I will give, is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (Jn. 6:51, 53 KJVThe King James Version is used throughout this article unless noted otherwise)

The sharp differences between the theology of Catholicism and the reformed theology of the Anglican Church of Shakespeares day provide the only adequate basis for a proper interpretation of Merchant of Venice. Without a thorough grounding in the theological conflicts that gave rise to the English religious persecutions of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and without an appreciation of the threat to Shakespeare and his works posed by government persecution, the reader cannot grasp the purpose and meaning of Shakespeares esoteric writing in this play. This articles intention is to provide the beginning for a deeper understanding of Merchant. It may offer new light on Shakespeares intention throughout his works. THE RELIGIOUS PROBLEM I N T E R P R E TAT I O N
OF

SHAKESPEARE

Shakespeares dramas notoriously resist simple exposition, although most have occasioned thoughtful interpretations, especially from commentators influenced by the interpretive method of Leo Strauss who have read the texts with care. Strauss was famous above all for his teaching or reviving an esoteric approach to the study of works written by the great minds in political philosophy. That method begins with the commonsense proposition that in order to interpret a work accurately, readers must understand the writer as he understood himself. Of course what seems to be a commonsense rule of exposition turns out to require painstaking care and rigorous effort to avoid imposing ones own preconceived categories on the text in question.
2006 Interpretation, Inc.

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Textual interpretation is complicated, Strauss taught, by the problem of persecution. Since the times and countries where writing is free of the threat of criminal or social persecution are rare, thoughtful authors have found it necessary to disguise their teachings when they violate legal or other norms: the works of the great minds which often question or reject conventions of time and place are written esoterically and must be interpreted that way. The art of esoteric writing means that the surface reading of a text, though always essential, may hide a deeper or complete teaching which can only be discovered with attentiveness and effort. Moreover the interpreter must pay careful attention not just to the words but to the actions, particularly when the work in question is a dialogue or stage play. The meaning of texts written to be performed cannot be clarified if the interpretation disregards the specific culture with its verbal and nonverbal symbols as they would be understood by the authors audience. For example, in Merchant of Venice, Antonios ships take their meaning from the fact that the Catholic Church was depicted in the art and literature of Shakespeares time as a shipfrom Peters fishing boatwhich in turn reminds the audience of the papal office and its claims to primacy. This is certainly not to say that faith and reason are culturally limited. Rather, the forms of thought, especially of staged works, are often expressed through cultural symbols familiar to the hearers and must be so recognized. Although commentators familiar with the Straussian methodology of study usually take account of the persecution problem as they interpret the texts of political philosophers ancient and modern, I am not aware of any Straussian interpretation of Shakespeares work that has seriously attempted to do this. This is most remarkable since his plays are so difficult to penetrate. Straussian as well as non-Straussian interpreters usually ignore the brutal religious persecution of Catholicism carried out by Queen Elizabeth and her establishment, following Edward VI before her, and originating under Henry VIII. Henrys Catholic daughter, Queen Mary, had attempted to reverse her fathers Protestant Reformation by instituting her own repressive policy against non-Catholics. England had undergone more than sixty years of such repression by the time Shakespeare began to write his plays, and the country was destined to suffer religious violence and civil war for decades after he died. Moreover the slightest familiarity with Shakespeares writings shows them steeped in Christian language, symbols, images, rituals, and scriptural references. Religious and political institutions are often entangled and in

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conflict, especially in the history plays. Straussian interpreters have charted these conflicts, but they assume that Shakespeare must have transcended the religious partisans. This is untrue to Strauss analytical method on two counts. First, for Strauss, serious political philosophers do not write from a point of view that stands outside the regime, as if they had no place as citizens; they write in some sense as partisans in their regime. This of course does not mean that an Elizabethan writer must necessarily have written as a Reformer, Catholic, Puritan, etc. rather than as an atheist, agnostic, or believer in some other religious tradition. It does mean, however, that Shakespeare could have adhered to one or another of these religious faiths and incorporated it in the purpose of his writings, and that this possibility must be examined seriously within the economy of the plays. Second, to assume that Shakespeare could not have been a firm adherent to one of the denominations in conflict is simply to disregard the impact of persecution and to distort his full teaching. For example, in a thoughtful reading of King John, Howard B. White promises to show that Shakespeare belonged to the politiquesthose who thought the religious question less important than the mere survival of Europe, who understood and did not cavil at Henry IVs famous statement, Paris vaut bien une messe (1964, 151). The politiques were committed most of all to religious toleration and civil peace rather than to any Catholic or Protestant theological doctrines. Yet White never considers the possibility that Shakespeare wrote from an esoteric but Catholic or Protestant viewpoint that might be brought to light in this or other plays. Simply because Shakespeare opposed meddlesome papal politics and defended Englands political independence from the pretensions of Catholic France by no means demonstrates that he could not have preferred and taught Catholic theological truths in this play. The works of Shakespeare must be seen in light of the threat of persecution before concluding that no theological truth could command his highest loyalty. Shakespeare lived his whole life under the Reformed Protestant establishment while Catholicism was harshly suppressed. Now except for Henry VIII, all of his plays take place before the Reformation, either before the rise of Christianity or during the time of Catholic Christendom. Tempest is the only play that has no historically identifiable time. While Henry VIII addresses the beginning of the English Reform, it notices only the institutional or ecclesiastical conflict. Historically the theological dispute between Protestants and Catholics did not begin before the reign of Edward VI as the reformers altered dogmatic teachings and liturgical practices that the Roman

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Church considered fundamental. In other words no Shakespearean work occurs within his lifetime: that is, he avoided explicit treatment of the theological conflicts that had plunged his country into bloody persecution. We are, to say no more, unwarranted in assuming that his silence evidences his noncommitment. A growing body of scholarship makes a case for Shakespeare being raised in a Catholic household, educated in Catholic schools, and/or committed to the old faith. The evidence is impressive though controversial. Scholars who have addressed the question of Shakespeares supposed Catholicism have also taken note of terms or isolated symbols scattered through the plays which they suppose is evidence of his religious preference. But they look at his work as an expression of his biography. (For examples, see De Groot 1968; Milward 1975.) Shakespeares significance for us, however, depends not on his personal history but on the intention of his works. No one has yet attempted to trace systematically a Catholic theme or distinctive Catholic teaching through a whole play (but see Addendum). This article offers an interpretation of Merchant of Venice, viewed in the light of Act III, Scene 2, which concludes that Shakespeares purpose is to defend the central theological truth of Catholic faiththe Eucharist as the real flesh and blood of Christagainst the Protestant Reformers entirely different doctrine. This truth of the Eucharistic Sacrament is so significant for the Catholic Church that, as the current Catechism expresses it:
[T]he Eucharist makes the Church Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one bodythe Church Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders (CCC, 352-53)

To defend the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is therefore to defend the Catholic Church per se. Moreover, Holy Orders, the sacrament by which the Catholic Church ordains its priests, is closely intertwined with the Eucharist. The Anglican communion also ordains its clergy under a rite called holy orders but denies that the rite is sacramental (39 Articles of Religion, 1553, Art. XXV). Consequently the Lords Supper celebrated by Anglican clergy, though described by them as a sacrament, cannot have the same sacramental nature as the Catholic Eucharist. If the Eucharist is the central concern of Merchant of Venice, the status of the priesthood must be at issue as well.

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The interpretation given in this article to the scene of Bassanios choice of the casket containing Portias image depends on two presupposition: first, the reader must be familiar with the liturgical form of the traditional Catholic Mass, and second, the reader must be alive to the grave threat to Catholicism posed by Elizabeths policy of eradication. With this understanding of Scene 2 of Act III as the most important in the play, I have interpreted the trial and other scenes and developed a typology of characters which I believe are reasonable conjectures in light of the dramas Eucharistic center. If this interpretation of Merchant is fruitful, the whole body of his work should be reconsidered. Judged by the intention of The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare undertook his poetic and literary project at least in part to defend and preserve the truths of Catholicism. Analysis of this kind presents peculiar difficulties. Apart from the obvious problem of understanding Shakespearean terminology as it grows more distant, interpreters must know the compelling doctrinal and liturgical issues between Catholics and Reformers in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This becomes more problematic because changes in both faiths in the intervening centuries have softened and obscured the stark differences of the Elizabethan age. There are easily available contemporary sources that shed light on these issues. The Anglican beliefs of Shakespeares day, which supplied the basis for persecution of non-Anglicans, were described in the 39 Articles of Religion, adopted in 1553, and in the Book of Common Prayer of 1559. The latter includes the liturgical form of the Lords Supper, or Holy Communion, which the Reformers substituted for the Catholic Mass. The Roman Mass was celebrated in Latin until the 1960s, when the rite was significantly changed and the practice arose of using vernacular languages. Any Catholic missal published before the mid-twentieth century can be referred to in order to follow the Churchs central liturgical and theological event. (For a careful, accurate, and detailed exposition of the meaning of this liturgy before the 1960s reforms, consult Jungmanns Mass of the Roman Rite. The form used in England during the sixteenth century was the Sarum rite, but for purposes of interpreting Merchant, the differences between Sarum and Roman rites are irrelevant.) Because the Reformation in Europe had raised doubts and misunderstanding of Catholic theology, the Council of Trent in the 1540s

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called for publication of a catechism as a resource for priests in teaching the faith to their congregations. The result was the Roman Catechism, published in 1566 and reprinted for over 400 years. The Catechism was twice translated into French before Shakespeare wrote his plays but not into English until long after his death. The original Latin version, however, was always available. The Roman Catechism contained the most authoritative and elegant expression of Catholic doctrine until the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church was published in 1992. It will be necessary to make frequent reference to these sources as we examine the play. To analyze the scenes and characters in depth, it will also be necessary to describe in detail certain elements of Catholic thought on interpreting the Bible, liturgical practices, and other features of traditional belief. These teachings were far better known to faithful Catholic Englishmen of the Elizabethan age than to most of us today. For purposes of this article, I will assume that Shakespeareimmersed in the religious and political controversies that consumed the politics of his agewas well versed in the doctrines and practices of both Catholicism and Anglicanism. The profound significance of religious truth for the life and destiny of man, about which both denominations agreed, has been obscured to modern man. This is one consequence of those persecutions that wracked the politics of Shakespeares age. Yet as Martin Yaffe has said in Shylock and the Jewish Question (163-65), Shakespeare never succumbed to the temptation of what later came to be called liberalism, that philosophical movement that began by denying the intelligibility of revealed religion. The plan of this article is: first to describe in detail the history of the persecutions; second, to examine the theological issues in conflict so far as they are pertinent to the play. Both the history and the issues must be known in order to grasp the purpose of this play. The interpretation of Scene 2 of Act III follows, and a separate section is devoted to the characters. The role of Portias Belmont follows the discussion of characters, and a concluding section completes the article. ENGLISH PERSECUTION
OF

C AT H O L I C S

King Henry VIII had wrestled control of the church establishment from Rome, broken with the papacy, and substituted the English monarch as head of the church as well as the state. Henry stripped churches of their wealth, closed monasteries and convents, and punished clergy and laity who refused to accept his claim to lead the church, Thomas More being the best known. The rejection of the primacy of the bishop of Rome implicitly raises doubts about all of Catholic theological doctrine as summarized in the

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Apostles Creed (Roman Catechism, 12, 13, 102-4), but Henry strove to avoid doctrinal changes in the English Church, even punishing Lutherans and other Protestants for heresy against Anglo-Catholicism. After Henrys death, official persecution of Catholics became more aggressive. Henrys 9-year-old son Edward VI began the process of reforming Catholic dogma and liturgy into Protestantism and persecuting those who professed traditional church teachings or practiced Catholic worship. The reforming bishop Thomas Cranmer dominated Edwards religious establishment, but the young king died after six years of rule. Henrys daughter Mary reversed course and restored Roman Catholicism. In her zeal to restore the ancient English faith, Bloody Mary, as she was known, instituted severe persecutions of Reformers. Two hundred seventy-three who would not follow her religious commands, Cranmer foremost, were burnt at the stake during her five-year reign (Hughes 1960, 272). Mary was followed by her half-sister Elizabeth, who determined to set the Reformation on an irreversible course. Edwards religious laws were revived and furthered, and those who practiced and propagated the old faith were driven into hiding. Jesuit priests who undertook the mission from the continent to restore England to Catholicism, were considered traitors. In 1581 Edmund Campion became the first Jesuit hanged for rebellion against the government. Campions case and ordeal were widely publicized. Another Jesuit martyr was the poet Robert Southwell who had been befriended by and ministered to Catholics of Shakespeares acquaintance and may have been a distant relation. The prosecutions forced Southwell to write poetry esoterically. In the preface to Mary Magdalens Funeral Tears, he wrote: In fables are often figured moral truths, and that covertly uttered to a common good, which without mask would not find so free a passage (Milward 1975, 54, 56). In 1595, a year or two before Shakespeare completed Merchant, Father Southwell was hanged, drawn and quartered after three years of imprisonment and torture. David Hume has calculated that at least fifty priests, trained in Europe and secretly returned to England, suffered the same fate between 1584 and 1594, while fifty-five others were banished (1850, 199). Campion used to travel into England in the guise of a jewel merchant (Thurston and Attwater 1990, 4:467). Southwell surely read the eyewitness accounts of Campions execution. He opened a secret correspondence with another Jesuit priest, Robert Persons, who had collaborated with

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Campion. Writing of Campions martyrdom, Southwell cloaked his letter as a merchants business communication: [Campion] has had the start of you in loading his vessel with English wares and has successfully returned to the desired port. Day by day we are looking forward to something similar of you. In fact, it was a common and not very secret practice for seminarians and priests to appear in public as merchants and to correspond in mercantile terminology, should spies or government agents intercept their letters. Persons papers, for example, show that he was variously addressed in letters from England as Mark Mercante, Florence, and Mr. Luke, merchant, at Venice (Milward 1975, 69, 281). This covert practice was conceptually derived from the only mention of the term merchant in the Gospels, at Mt. 13:45-46, where Jesus tells the parable about a rich merchant who sold everything he had in order to buy a pearl of great price. The pearl symbolizes the kingdom of heaven. The parable teaches that man should be prepared to give up everything he possesses, including earthly life, in order to gain eternal life. The priest, who surrenders his whole life to Christfor Roman Catholics this traditionally included a vow to remain unmarried (CCC, 395)and who brings Christ to others, is the paradigmatic merchant. The tile of Shakespeares play refers to this common disguise: the plays central character is a merchant-priest. In 1549 under Edward VI, Parliament enacted the First Act of Uniformity, allowing throughout the kingdom only the worship service and administration of sacraments as set out in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and criminalizing all others. The Lords Supper was ordered to replace the traditional Catholic Mass. The new statute extended a strong censorship over public entertainments, forbidding public criticism of Anglican liturgy:
[I]f any personshall in any interludes, plays, songs, rhymes, or by other open words, declare or speak anything in the derogation, depraving, or despising of the same book or of anything therein contained or any part thereof, then every person being thereof lawfully convicted in form abovesaid shall forfeit to the king our sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, for the first offense 10 (Stephenson and Marcham 1937, 325-26).

This law was strengthened three years later by a Second Act of Uniformity, forcing all English inhabitants to attend services under the approved Anglican form. The Second Act placed new emphasis on teaching and enforcing the Reformed rite by which Anglican priests were ordained.

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In 1559 Elizabeths Parliament passed an Act of Supremacy requiring every person holding either a government office or church ministry to swear an oath in conscience that the Queen was the supreme ruler over both church and state, and to renounce the authority of any foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate, meaning particularly the Pope, the bishop of Rome. This act also extended a harsher censorship, prohibiting any writing, printing, teaching, preaching, express words, deed, or act [that would] affirm, hold, stand with, set forth, maintain, or defend the authority of the Pope or other foreigners. Such criminals, and their abettors, aiders, procurers, and counselors were to be punished severely, the third offense being high treason punishable by death (Stephenson and Marcham 1937, 344-46). In 1570 the Pope published a bull declaring Elizabeth a usurper and freeing her subjects from allegiance to her. She responded with two statutes enacted in 1571. First, the Treasons Act made it high treason punishable by death and forfeiture of estate for anyone, by writing, printing, preaching, speech, express words, or sayings, to state that the Queen is a heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel, or an usurper, including abettors in the punishment (Stephenson and Marcham 1937, 351-52). Second, the Act Prohibiting Bulls from Rome similarly criminalized as high treason either publishing papal bulls or co-operating with Roman authority in granting absolution or reconciliation to anyone on account of the papal declaration of 1570. This law also criminalized the simple customs of giving, wearing, or using tokenscrosses, pictures, beads, or suchlike vain and superstitious things from the bishop or see of Rome (Stephenson and Marcham 1937, 352-54). In 1584 Elizabeths Parliament enacted a severe law against Jesuits and other Roman Catholic priests compelling them to leave her realm within forty days, threatening those who remained or returned with prosecution for treason punishable by death. Those who harbored or succored them were guilty of felony. As David Hume writes in his History of England: By this law, the exercise of the Catholic religion, which had formerly been prohibited under lighter penalties, and which was in many instances connived at, was totally suppressed (1850, 199). The Act against Sectaries of 1593 punished by indefinite jail sentence anyone who refused to attend an approved church or, by printing,

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writing, or express words or speeches, tried to persuade anyone to abstain from coming to church to hear divine service, or to receive the communion according to her majestys laws and statutes aforesaid, or to come to or to be present at any unlawful assemblies, conventicles, or meetings under color or pretence of any exercise of religion contrary to her majestys said laws and statutes (Stephenson and Marcham 1937, 354). Sectaries were Protestants who rejected the Anglican communion, but this act could be used as well against Catholics. Still another law against Papists was passed that same year. Popish recusants were forbidden to travel beyond five miles of their residence, and they were required to register their names at their local Anglican parish and with the constable, to be certified with the justice of the peace. They could be expelled from the country if they remained unwilling to attend the approved church and obey all other religious laws. Under Elizabeths successor, James I, an act was passed making it a crime for any personin any stage play, interlude, show, maygame, or pageant [to] jestingly or profanely speak or use the holy name of God or of Christ Jesus, or of the Holy Ghost or of the Trinity, which are not to be spoken but with fear and reverence (Act to Restrain Abuses of Players, 1606). This law was enacted before Shakespeares last plays but eight to ten years after Merchant of Venice was written. T H E O LO G I C A L I S S U E S The core theological issues of Shakespeares time and their political consequences reveal the central meaning of this play. This section describes doctrines that would have been familiar to sixteenth-century Catholics knowledgeable in their faith but are not so well known in our time. The theological differences between Catholics and Anglicans during Shakespeares lifetime were legion, but the most significant issue concerned the nature of the Sacrament called Eucharist (also Sacrifice, Communion, Sacrament of peace and love, Supper, Viaticum) by Catholics (Roman Catechism, 215) and the Lords Supper by Anglicans (39 Articles of Religion, 1553, Art. XXVIII). Catholic teaching holds that the Church is authorized by Christ to administer seven sacraments the roots of which can all be traced to the Gospels: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance (Confession), Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction (now called Sacrament of the Sick), Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Sacraments may be described as visible signs of an invisible grace, instituted for our justification; in other words, they are

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essential means to the believers eternal salvation (Roman Catechism, 143). Of the seven, Holy Eucharist is so central that it constitutes the heart and peak of Catholic life. Catholics are required under pain of serious sin to attend Mass every Sunday and other holy days. Eucharist is consecrated (confected) at every Mass, which can be celebrated only by a validly ordained priest. Mass cannot take place without the consecration, which occurs at a specified moment in the liturgical order when the presiding priest through determined and invariable words effects a radical and miraculous change in the substance of bread and wine. This process, known as transubstantiation, causes the substance of the consecrated host to becomenot symbolically but really, truly, and completely (CCC, 346)the Real Presence of Christ, although the perceptions of sense, or accidents, of the bread and wine remain. As St. Augustine expressed it: this Sacrament consists of two things,the visible species of the elements, and the invisible flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And it is in the same sense that we say that this Sacrament is to be adored, meaning the body and blood of our Lord (Roman Catechism, 216my emphasis). The priest and congregation consume the transubstantiated host near the conclusion of the liturgy. The Eucharistic Sacrament is closely linked to another called Penance or Confession. The communicant may only participate in the sacred body of Christ provided he is in what is termed a state of grace, that is, he must have no serious unrepented sin on his soul. Before receiving the Eucharist, the communicant confesses his serious sins to a priest. According to Catholic teaching, the sacramental form of Confession requires the penitent to express sorrow for sins he has committed. The confessor-priest absolves the penitent in the Name of God, restoring the sinner to a state of grace permitting worthy reception of the Eucharist. Among the great favors of being in a state of grace is greater resistance to the attractions of sin and greater perception or awareness of that which is good or evil. Absolution or forgiveness of sins through Confession cannot ordinarily be obtained without the mediation of a priest. Three major theological issues concerning these sacraments were in dispute between Catholics and Anglicans: First, is the process called transubstantiation integral to Christian communion or is it a superstition that degrades the sacrament instituted by Christ? Second, must the Sacrament of Communion be effected only by a validly ordained priest? Third, is Confession (or Penance) a sacrament requiring Christians to admit their sins and obtain Divine forgiveness only through a priests intercession?

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The significance of these theological matters for the political status of the English monarch could not be greater. The traditional Catholic teaching about both sacraments flatly contradicts the claim of the head of the English state to command the church. If these sacraments can be administered only by priests ordained by the successors of the twelve apostles meaning bishops in union with the See of St. Peterthen the English monarch lacks authority to designate church ministers. In fact, according to Catholic teaching, the Christian king is required like his subjects to confess and to receive the Eucharist from any ordinary Roman priest. In order to ground the monarchs claim to the headship of the English Church, therefore, the Reformed teaching denied all three Catholic theological teachings. First, Article XXVIII of the 39 Articles of Religion, which were enforced in all churches by law, specified:
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. The Body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lords Supper was not by Christs ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshipped.

Second: By the 1559 Act of Supremacy (quoted above), all ministers of the English Church swore an oath repudiating the spiritual authority of Catholic bishops and the Pope of Rome and recognizing the ecclesiastical powers of the English monarch. Article XXXVI of the 39 Articles confirmed that the consecration and ordination of priests must follow the rite set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. Anglican doctrine, in other words, denied that a priest ordained by a Catholic bishop is needed to administer the sacrament of communion. Third: Article XXV of the 39 Articles denied that Penance and four other sacraments administered by the Roman Church are sacraments in fact:
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be

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counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lords Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Reformers teaching on sacraments suppressed their significance in two respects: first, it reduced the number from seven to two, and second, the definition of a sacrament was subtly changed to delete the reference to justification, meaning that sacraments did not provide essential means of salvation. Catholic theology has consistently made the Church the indispensable bridge to eternal salvation, while the Anglican doctrine, in agreement with Protestant Reform generally, removed the ecclesiastical institution and its priesthood from their intermediary role, making personal faith in the Bible sufficient (39 Articles of Religion, Arts. VI, XX, and XXXIV). This change in the status of the individual in relation to the church is sometimes praised as crucial to the origin of liberal democracy. We cannot help noticing, however, that this change came about for the purpose of strengthening the power not of individual Christians but of the monarch who united church and state in himself. Moreover, while repentance for sins remained necessary to receive the Lords Supper worthily, the Anglican rite for receiving Communion as prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer called only for personal repentance, abolishing the necessity for private confession to and absolution from a priest (Book of Common Prayer, 1559, The order of the ministration of the holy Communion). The theological-political relationship of the English Church to the Church of Rome was determined by the manner in which these disagreements were resolved. Catholics could find no way in conscience to abide in a Christian faith stripped of sacramental life as they understood it. Anglicans could not on the other hand reconcile their championship of the English monarch as head of the church with the Catholic Churchs teachings on the sacraments, particularly Eucharist and Confession. Considering that both sides were in agreement that eternity was at stake in these theological conflicts, the harsh persecutions carried out by Mary for Catholicism, and by Edward, Elizabeth, and James for the Reformers stand revealed for their murderous transcendent purpose: not just punishing those whose conscience could not accept the established faith, but assuming the awful authority to condemn them to eternal hellfire. The

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atheistic totalitarianisms of the twentieth century, which supposed that souls have no eternal existence, hardly aspired to such fiendishness. This was the awful situation that confronted Englands most philosophic poet throughout his life. A C T III, S C E N E 2
OF

THE MERCHANT

OF

VENICE

England in common with most of Europe had a long tradition of liturgical plays stretching back to the Middle Ages. These simple performances dramatized religious themes and biblical stories, of which Christs Passion and the Holy Week Triduum were especially popular. Even the most somber, depicting the Crucifixion and Resurrection, came to include comic moments with no strictly scriptural basis. Some Easter plays, for example, featured bawdy humor and clownish characters such as spice merchants who sold ointments bought by the women to embalm Jesus entombed body (Hartnoll 1980, 40, 45). The Reformers under Elizabeth suppressed or heavily censored these dramas. The Merchant of Venice covertly revived the Easter play, including earthy humor and comic characters. Its actions are marked at significant points by the Triduum events recounted in the GospelsHoly Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter morningwhen Christ suffered his passion, death, and resurrection. Triduum events are clearly suggested in Merchant including the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (I.i), the trial of Jesus (IV.i), and the resurrection on Easter morning (V.i). The Last Supper on Holy Thursday forms the referent of the feast Bassanio organizes in honor of his friend Antonio (II.ii.163-64). For the Catholic Church the Last Supper is a profoundly significant event. Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper when he transformed bread and wine into his body and blood, instructing the apostles to commemorate him by doing likewise (Lk. 22:19). Catholics also see this command as the origin of the Sacrament of Holy Orders which established the priesthood to administer the Eucharist (Roman Catechism, 321). Under the heavy-handed bans on such plays, Shakespeare utilized his subtlest literary art to escape censorship and punishment while dramatizing the Gospels history. Merchants central subject is the flesh of Jesus Christ. The word flesh appears more times in this play than any other. Catholic doctrine emphasized that Christ is true man as well as true God, and the Church has often combated heresies that denied the one or the other. Among the first hints of the plays esoteric meaning are its twenty-scene structure and the fact

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that the number 20 is also mentioned more frequently in Merchant than any other Shakespearean work. In the literary tradition known to Shakespeare, 20 refers to man, not the mere species but his bodily naturetwenty digits (Hopper 2000, ix, 9, 236; see generally White 1964 and 1970). The scene on which the whole play hingesas Barbara Tovey and other commentators have recognizedis Scene 2 of Act III in which Bassanio correctly chooses the casket, or jewel box, containing Portias painted image, thus winning the right to marry her. It is the thesis of this article that this scene covertly represents the central act of the Catholic Mass, the consecration of the Eucharist, preceded by the Sacrament of Confession. Now although the structure of the Mass includes a series of sections that might be completed in about twenty minutes, the consecration and consumption of the Eucharist, strictly speaking, are sufficient for a Mass to be validly celebrated. This is important because Catholics are obligated on pain of mortal sin to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. Under imminent threat of discovery by government agents or informers, a priest may carry out the bare consecration and distribution of the Holy Sacrament, which takes only a few minutes, to completely satisfy the duty. At the moment of consecration, by the process called transubstantiation the consecrated bread is miraculously changed into the flesh of Christ truly, really, and substantially. To recognize this moment in the play, the interpreter must be familiar with this central act of the liturgy. A Catholic contemporary of Shakespeare who observed with care might have had little difficulty in discerning it. Non-Catholics of Shakespeares time who were unfamiliar with the Mass, Catholics who fell away from attending, and Catholics today who know only the modern rite in English rather than the old Roman rite would be equally unlikely to recognize the covert references. Let us begin with the one-sentence prayer termed the epiclesis. Just before the moment of consecration, the priest prays that the consecration may be efficacious, repeatedly making the sign of the Cross over the bread and wine on the altar at the highlighted words: Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilem que facere digneris: ut nobis Corpus, et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi (Which oblation do thou, O God, we beseech thee, vouchsafe in all respects to make hallowed, approved [lit. assigned], ratified, reasonable, and acceptable, that it may become for our good, the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord)

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(Hoever 1959, 676-77; Sarum Missal). This prayer, which takes simpler form in the modern rite, was excluded from the Anglican liturgy because the Reformers repudiated transubstantiation, which the epiclesis prayer asks of God. The two moments of the consecration are signaled by a bell rung several times. The priest first speaks the following words: All of you take and eat of this: For this is My Body. He genuflects before the consecrated bread and wine, stands and holds up the host, then genuflects once more. These three motions are repeated, using similar language for the consecrated wine, while he elevates the chalice. With the conclusion of this brief liturgical action, the priest consumes the sacred body and precious blood, and then distributes the host only, not the blood, to the congregation. (This restriction does not deprive the laity of full participation since either species contains both substancesRoman Catechism, 234, 253.) Here is another major difference between the Catholic and Anglican practices of Shakespeares time that will affect the interpretation of Merchant. While the modern Catholic rite initiated in the 1960s permits the Eucharist to be distributed to non-clergy under both kinds, ancient practice was for the priest to receive the sacrament under both species while the laity received only the species of bread. Thus the difference between the Eucharistic practices of clergy and laity in itself pointed to a distinction between the laity who can only receive one species and the exalted minister who holds the power to confect the Divine body and blood. The distinction between clergy and laity also brought to mind that the Eucharist represents the real and bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, presented again on the altar in an unbloody manner (Roman Catechism, 258-59; CCC, 344). In the Reformed rite of the Lords Supper, the presiding clergyman and the congregation both share bread and wine (39 Articles of Religion, Art. XXX). Consistent with Protestant reforms generally, offering communion to the faithful in both kinds narrowed and blurred the distinction between ministers and lay Christians. This was another consequence of the Reformers denial of the priestly power to effect the transubstantiated flesh and blood of Christ.

The surface plot of Merchant is bizarre and incredible. A Christian merchant named Antonio borrows a large sum of money on behalf of his needy friend Bassanio and almost casually contracts to allow the Jewish usurer, Shylock, with whom his relationship was mutually scornful, to cut out a pound of flesh from his body if he fails to repay the loan on time. Similar

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tales had been told before, but there does not seem to be a single historical instance (Shakespeare 1994, xxvii-xxxii). So foolish does this peculiar act of Shakespeares merchant appear that interpreters are forced to give explanations just as foolish, distorting and sexualizing the nature of the friendship. Barbara Toveys shrewd article comes close to unlocking the secret of the play, recognizing that the story of the caskets is the key to the entire drama. But because she does not take account of the religious persecutions, she misses the real significance of the caskets (1981, 223, 233). Following Allan Bloom and others, she asserts that Antonio is in love with Bassanio, he is filled with shame, and other characters are aware of his homosexual affections. In fact this has become the conventional view, as in the 2004 film version which takes pains to be as out of the closet as possible. Yet Toveys argument is unpersuasive. There is not a line spoken by any character that seriously suggests an unnatural dimension to that friendship, however intimate it is. Indeed Bassanios fiance, Portia, a woman of great discernment, more than once welcomes Antonio because of his love for her intended husband. There is no mistaking same-sex relationships in Shakespeares plays, for example, Achilles and Hectors in Troilus and Cressida, but they neither exist nor explain Antonios behavior in Merchant. Tovey, though, does rightly point to Scene 2 of Act III as the most revealing of the play, and to this scene we now turn. The scene divides into three sections: first, from Bassanios arrival to the point where he enters the room where he will take the test (ii.1-62); second, his choice of the correct casket (63-148); third, a swift series of events ending with the discovery that Antonio has lost his fortune and will be unable to repay the debt (149-325). The scene opens as Antonios friend Bassanio, who has not told Portia of his love, has arrived at her home in Belmont for the purpose of taking the test of the caskets which will allow him to claim her as his wife. We have heard about many others and witnessed two would-be suitors who tried and failed this test, much to her relief since she is secretly in love with Bassanio. The test, imposed on Portia by her holy and virtuous father as he lay dying, offers three caskets, one of gold, one of silver, one of lead. In only one is an image of Portia. She may neither reveal nor hint to the suitors which casket is the correct one. According to Portias servant, presumably following her fathers intention, Portia will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you shall rightly love (I.ii.31-32). Why this must be

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the outcome of this lottery is not clear. Portia does however tell Bassanio that she could wish he would not immediately put himself to the test but remain at Belmont awhile, although she grants that she would be tempted to sin by showing him how to make his choice. She does say enough for him to see that she loves him. Whereupon Bassanio bursts out that he wants to take the test quickly, for as I am, I live upon the rack (III.ii.24-39). Portia responds: Upon the rack Bassanio? Then confess what treason there is mingled with your love. The rack was the favored instrument of torture inflicted on Catholics such as Campion and Southwell to compel them to confess their treason. Portias exchange with Bassanio could not fail to make the audience think of the connection between Bassanios love and treason. Portias compulsory requirement that Bassanio confess, moreover, points to the Catholic requirement that the Sacrament of Confession or Penance precede the reception of Eucharist. We are led to see that the love Bassanio speaks of here should be understood as his love of Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrament, which is treasonous by the law of England. Bassanio admits to his mistrust, which he calls an ugly treason, because it makes him fear thenjoying of my love. He is not capable of enjoyingactually possessing or having for his benefithis love because of his fear. Now missing Mass (if available) on obligatory days because of intimidation is from a Catholic viewpoint treason to Christ. Catholics who neglected to receive Communion at least once a year (known as Easter duty) were excommunicated (Roman Catechism, 250-51). Portia replies: I fear you speak upon the rack where men enforced do speak any thing. Confessions obtained under torture, as practiced by Elizabeths government, cannot be relied upon to reveal the truth. As David Hume dryly remarks on Elizabethan torture, [Nor is violent persecution], we may safely affirm, in spite of the rigid and bigoted maxims of that ageto be the best method of converting them, or of reconciling them to the established government and religion (1850, 199-200). Promise me life, and Ill confess the truth, Bassanio pleads, and Portia responds, Well then, confess and live. The Sacrament of Confession is nothing less than a promise of lifeeternal lifesince it absolves the penitent of sins that close to him the gates of heaven. Portias response confess and live summarizes the absolution he seeks, and he replies

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with a pun: Confess and love had been the very sum of my confession: he now freely admits his love, knowing he is not to be punished but absolved. Bassanio now adds: O happy torment, when my torturer doth teach me answers for deliverance. In Confession, the same God Who would punish him for committing serious sins teaches him the way out of eternal torment to eternal deliverance. That way leads him to the sacrament of deliverance, the Eucharist. Bassanio immediately concludes: let me to my fortune and the caskets. Some commentators believe that Portia finds means to teach Bassanio which casket to choose (Tovey 1981, 217, 219; Shakespeare 1994, 50). Bassanio himself seems to say that he has learned something important, even though Portia had clearly pronounced that it would be sinful for her even to think of doing so. I suggest that their confession dialogue accounts for this; he has indeed learned to select the lead casket. His understanding of the Eucharist, following the Confession she obliged him to make, is what guides his choice, as I will explain below. As Bassanio enters the area where the caskets are displayed, Portia calls for a choir to sing, remarking: he may win, and what is music then? Then music is even as the flourish, when true subjects bow to a newcrowned monarch (47-50). Choir music of course is usual in the celebration of Mass. Bassanio by his confession is no longer a false subject but has become a true subject to a new-crowned monarch, the King of kings. Portia then says of herself in Bassanios presence, I stand for sacrifice (57): the nature of the Eucharistic celebration is precisely sacrificial (Roman Catechism, 254-60). As the second part of this scene begins, a solo voice and choir intone a mysterious dialogue song beginning Tell me where is Fancy bred. Tovey and others believe that Portia arranged this song to hint that Bassanio should choose the lead casket, noting that the first two (or three) lines end in words rhyming with lead (1981, 217). Missing the Eucharistic significance of the scene, perhaps these interpreters have overlooked the punning Shakespeares bred pointing to the consecration about to follow. As the song ends, the solo and choir sing, Ding, dong, bell. Ding, dong, bell. According to liturgical norms, twice bells are rung three times in succession to accompany the double moment when first the bread and then the wine, transformed into the sacred body and precious blood, are elevated by the priest (Jungmann 1986, 209-10; Hoever 1959, 677, 679). The consecration is the absolute climactic moment of the Roman Mass.

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During this second section of the scene, Portia speaks an aside of seven lines, Bassanio having just recited thirty-four lines. Following Portias interlude, he will speak another thirty-four. His first speech is a meditation on the three caskets in which he rejects the gaudy gold and then the silver, pale and common drudge Tween man and man (101, 103-4). The speech begins: So may the outward shows be least themselves,The world is still deceivd with ornament (73-74). As Tovey has discerned, the problem of appearance and reality permeates this play, and nowhere more than in this scene. There can be no more extreme example than the contrast between the appearances or accidents of the most common ordinary food, bread, and the transubstantiated reality contained within it, the Son of God, the Word who created all that has come into being. This difference between accidents and substance in the mysteries of the Eucharist is brought out emphatically in the Roman Catechism and is worth quoting in extenso:
Pastorsshould first of all impress on the minds of the faithful the necessity of detaching, as much as possible, their mind and understanding from the dominion of the senses; for if they believe that this Sacrament contains only what the senses disclose, they will of necessity fall into enormous impiety. Consulting the sight, the touch, the smell, the taste and finding nothing but the appearances of bread and wine, they will naturally judge that this Sacrament contains nothing more than bread and wine. Their minds, therefore, are as much as possible to be withdrawn from subjection to the senses and excited to the contemplation of the stupendous might and power of God. The Catholic Church firmly believes and professes that in this Sacrament the words of consecration accomplish three wondrous and admirable effects. The first is that the true body of Christ the Lord, the same that was born of the Virgin, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, is contained in this Sacrament. The second, however repugnant it may appear to the senses, is that none of the substance of the elements remains in the Sacrament. The third, which may be deduced from the two proceeding, although the words of consecration themselves clearly express it, is that the accidents which present themselves to the eyes or other senses exist in a wonderful and ineffable manner without a subject. All the accidents of bread and wine we can see, but they inhere in no substance, and exist independently of any, for the substance of the bread and wine is so changed into the body and blood of our Lord that they altogether cease to be the substance of bread and wine. (228-29)

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A Catholic instructed by this teaching would be well prepared for the challenge of deciding which casket contains Portias living image. Bassanio gives three examples of deceptive ornamentin law, in religion, and in morality, or virtue and vice. Of the central example, religion, he says; What damned error but some sober brow Will bless it, and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? (78-80). Whether this is meant to support or oppose the doctrine of transubstantiation we cannot know, but he does claim, as the Catechism teaches, that some errors are so gross as to be damned. Bassanio uses two examples in which hair is used to disguise reality: cowards who make themselves appear courageous by wearing The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars (85), and a supposed fairness that works a miracle in nature by the wearing of golden wigs shorn from dead skulls, which he calls The seeming truth which cunning times put on To entrap the wisest (100-101). Bassanio peremptorily rejects the gold and silver caskets and seizes upon the meagre lead Which rather threatenst than dost promise aught, Thy paleness [or plainness, according to one commentator: Shakespeare 1994, 82] moves me more than eloquence, And here choose I, joy be the consequence! (104-7). It is the leads unremarkable appearance that moves him to that choice. Having confessed his fear of enjoying his love and then abandoned fear, he now prays for that joy. At this moment, the pivot of the entire play, the audience witnesses Bassanio holding the casket containing Portias image and praying for joy, just as the priest at the point of consecration elevates the blessed host for the congregation to adore (Jungmann 1986, 206). Let us notice that the elevation of the casket-host is a decisively Catholic liturgical gesture which flagrantly violates the mandated Reformed practice: The Sacrament of the Lords Supper was not by Christs ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshipped (39 Articles of Religion, 1553, Art. XXVIII). Portias seven-line aside intervenes at this central point. According to one of the best reference books on the literary use of numerology, Hoppers Medieval Number Symbolism, the number 7 indicates the Sabbath day of rest, symbolizing the Final Glory of Eternal Rest of the saints in heaven, or a spiritual and timeless age (2000, 77-78). For example, in Dantes Divine Comedy, Hopper writes: mortality mingles with immortalityIn this very 7 is the image of man, composed, as he is, of the 4 [cardinal virtues] of the body and the 3 [theological virtues] of the soul. The 4 of the active, speculative, or temporal life is represented by the 4 cardinal virtues.

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The 3 theological virtues preside over the spiritual, or contemplative life (170-71). Portia testifies that her doubtful thoughts, rash-embraced despair, shuddring fear, and green-eyed jealousy have now vanished. She expresses supreme love, immoderate joy, a blessing so excessive that she surfeit[s] (108-14). This moment which represents the elevation of the flesh of Christ is also an ecstatic moment for faithful worshippers. Accounts of visions imparted at the consecration were common: the host shining like the sun or a tiny child appearing in the priests hands (Jungmann 1986, 206). Bassanio opens the box and is astonished to discover Portias counterfeit within. The theme of his second thirty-four-line speech (114-48) is the lifelike realism and beauty of her portrait. His first commentWhat demi-god Hath come so near creation?suggests that the reality of the painting could not have been humanly produced. He does not know whether the portraits eyes truly move, or only seem in motion. The open lips have sugar breath, and the golden hair might entrap the hearts of men. Returning to the eyes, he now extols their power, wondering that the painter having done one did not have his own eyes stolen and unable to portray the other. After all he has said to extol the images realism, beauty, and power, he now adds: yet look how far The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow In underprizing it, so far this shadow Doth limp behind the substance (126-29, my emphasis). Bassanios wonder falls far short of the substance of the portrait. The two-fold mention is virtual proof that the real subject of this scene is change of substance, transubstantiation. Bassanio cannot separate Portias image from Portia herself, just as the consecrated bread and wine cannot be separated from the Real Presence of Christ which has become their substance. The sacred flesh and its confection are called by the Catholic Church a mystery, concealed, hidden, secret, a sacramental truth to be worshipped but beyond the ability of words and reason to express adequately (Roman Catechism, 142), like Bassanios words that cannot hope to catch up to the reality of Portias image. Now at the end of his second speech, Bassanio turns to Portia and asks her to verify the truth of his choice. He virtually echoes the epiclesis prayer (benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque) and in the identical context: Sostand I even so, As doubtful whether what I see be true, Until confirmed, signd, ratified by you (146-48).

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Consider the detail of the caskets concealment. By ancient usage the unconsumed consecrated hosts are reserved in a tabernacle placed in the middle of an altar and locked against the danger of profanation. Canon law required a veil or curtain (called a canopeum) to be hung on the tabernacle which would be removed for access to the blessed host. This veil was conceptually derived from the curtains that God instructed Moses to hang around the tabernacle or tent of meeting where He was present among them. The practice of veiling the tabernacle emphasizes the Real Presence of God within. Shakespeare repeatedly notes that the caskets are concealed behind curtains that are drawn aside when a suitor takes the test (at II.vii.1, 78 and II.ix.1, 84), consistent with the Catholic practice of veiling the reposed Sacrament. The representation of the Eucharist in the central scene is recalled dramatically in the plays final scene. Lorenzo, observing the beauty of the heavens at Belmont, remarks to his wife Jessica: look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold. The paten is a small golden plate on which the priest places the Eucharistic bread transformed into Christs flesh. Commentators are puzzled by this lone-standing reference, especially since it appears in the context of a series of symbols supposedly identified with paganism rather than Christianity. Clearly this is a back-reference to the Eucharist confected in Bassanios casket scene: the heavens above Belmont are dominated by the Presence of Christ. The true nature of the lead casket scene is dramatically reinforced by considering the objection by which Portia undoes Shylocks demand at the trial for Antonios flesh. Believing he has won his case and preparing his knife for the cut, Shylock is stopped by Portia:
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood, The words expressly are a pound of flesh: Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are (by the laws of Venice) confiscate Unto the state of Venice . Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh, Shed thou no blood (IV.i.302-5, 319-20)

Recall that lay Catholics were forbidden to consume the blood of Christ, the transubstantiated wine contained in the chalice. The

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sacrament has traditionally been called the unbloody sacrifice because its celebration does not literally kill the victim. Moreover lay communicants received only the species of the bread-become-flesh, but not the winebecome-blood (although as mentioned, either species is held to contain both substances). This practice was emphasized by the Council of Trent in the 1560s in opposition to the Protestant Reformation which denied the Eucharistic Real Presence. The Anglicans too, both clergy and lay, received in both species. Portias intervention which prevents Shylock from taking Antonios life makes sense only in light of the unbloody sacrifice of the Catholic Eucharist. That Shakespeare surreptitiously represents and honors the old Church doctrine against the Reformed version is convincing evidence that his purpose is to defend the theology of the Eucharist.

Our understanding of the play can be clarified further by comparing the three casket scenes. The differences are striking, and they indicate that Shakespeare rejected Reformed views on the sufficiency of the Bible for attaining salvation. A large number of suitors come to Belmont to win Portias hand by the test of the caskets. We see in turn a Prince of Morocco, a Prince of Arragon, and the Venetian scholar and soldier, Antonios friend Bassanio (I.ii.108-15). From his first mention by Portias servant Nerissa, it is obvious that Portia prefers Bassanio. The tawny Morocco, dressed in white, has a boastful temperament. He opens his conversation with Portia by telling her to disregard his dark complexion (II.i.1) and proceeds to brag of his red-bloodedness and brave deeds. Yet he remarks that he would change his hue if he could win her by doing so (11-12). Portia coolly and ambiguously tells him that he stands no less fair to win her than anyone who has tried so far. Beyond that she offers him no assistance. Morocco is all show and appearance. He believes that his success is determined ultimately by blind fortune or chance (32-38). When the caskets are presented to him, calling on some god to direct his judgment, he attempts to interpret the cryptic inscriptions on each. The gold casket bears this sentence: Who chooseth me, shall gain what many men desire. The silver reads: Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserves. The lead reads: Who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath. Morocco rejects the leaden casket out of hand for two reasons: first, men dont risk all they have for dross but for fair advantages

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(II.vii.18-20). Second, it would be damnation, base, and gross to think that the fair Portias heavenly picture could be wrapped in a simple waxed cloth and entombed in an obscure grave of lead (47-51). The image Morocco invokes ironically calls to mind the cave-sepulchre in which Jesus clothwrapped body was reposed after the crucifixion. Similarly, to think she might be immurd in silver, which is worth one-tenth of pure gold would also be a sinful thought (52-55). Morocco thinks of her as a dead body fit for burial; he does not think of her invisible soul or spirit. Therefore he chooses the gold casket, only to be greeted with a vision from hell, a skull whose empty eye contains a note that begins, All that glisters is not gold. The scroll rebukes him precisely for his lack of wisdom and judgment, selling his life for externalities (63-71). There are golden tombs that are filled with worms (Jesus denounces blind Pharisees who resemble beautiful whitewashed tombs filled with dead mens bones and filth: Mt. 23:27). As Morocco leaves, Portia remarks Let all of his complexion choose me so, meaning not just his skin color but his vain temperament (Shakespeare 1994, 61). The second of the three suitors whose test is depicted is the Prince of Arragon. Unlike Morocco, all we can learn about him is revealed from his words as he makes his choice. He too, however, also guides that choice by trying to interpret the inscriptions. Whereas Morocco boasted of his courage, Arragon is temperate and aristocratic. He rejects the lead casket because it is not beautiful enough for him to take the hazard the words mention. But now unlike Morocco, he also rejects the gold casket on the not unreasonable ground that the many men its inscription refers to are the fool multitude that choose by show. (II.ix.26) They never learn to penetrate to the interior but remain on the phenomenal level where the fond eye doth teach. Arragon does not jump with common spirits, And rank me with the barbarous multitudes. This turns him to the middle-ranking silver casket, more precious than lead but less than gold. Musing on the inscription that the silver chest earns as much as the chooser deserves, he acknowledges how often those who hold estates, degrees, and offices have come by them undeservedly, and many of the lowest social rank deserve places of honor (39-45). Arragon is not fooled by the appearances of the world, but he is ignorant of himself. Saying I will assume desert, he chooses the silver casket which proves to contain a blinking idiot. Arragon is shocked: How much unlike my hopes and my deservings! ...Did I deserve no more than a fools head? Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better? he complains (57-60).

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He reads the schedule within the silver casket, which concludes: Take what wife you will to bed, I will ever be your head (70-71). Arragon has learned a difficult lesson about himself: With one fools head I came to woo, But I go away with two (75-76). Now Arragon and the other suitors swear an oath before taking the test, one condition of which is never To woo a maid in way of marriage if they should fail the test (II.i.41-42 and II.ix.11-12). Commentators wonder why the writing in the silver chest mentions having a wife. But the statement does not mean he may take a wife in disregard of the oath. It makes a universal statement about the very nature of marriage which derives from Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony taken from Pauls letter to the Ephesians 5:23, 32 (DRV): [T]he husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the ChurchThis is a great sacrament [mustrion]; but I speak in Christ and in the church. The marriage relationship resembles that of Christ in his headship of the Church. This means that the husband not only directs his family but is also required to sacrifice himself for his family in the way Christ did, devoting his entire life, including his death if necessary, for the well-being of his wife and children (Roman Catechism, 345-46). Because Arragon did not know himself, he rejected the lead casket that represented Christ really present; Arragon chose the fools head rather than Christ to be his own head. There is a monumental difference between Bassanios test and the other suitors. Morocco and Arragon both struggle to interpret the inscriptions on the caskets in order to guide their choice, yet they fail. Bassanio pays virtually no attention to the inscribed words, yet he chooses rightly. The other suitors are led to refer the caskets texts directly to themselves. Bassanio makes no effort to compare himself to the matter of the caskets or their inscriptions. His rejection of the gold and silver ornamented chests is based on his having learned that appearances conceal a different reality. He acquired this awareness from his confession of love to Portia. Bassanios full acknowledgment of his love for the Eucharistic Sacrament emerged from his concealment caused by his mistrust and fear of the rack, when men enforced are liable to say anything. His first words on approaching the casketsSo may the outward shows be least themselvesshow that he now sees by the grace or light of truth which he received from the penitential sacrament. This is affirmed by the examples he immediately cites: tainted and corrupt pleas disguised with a gratifying voice in law, and damned errors blessed by a sober brow and proved from a scriptural text in religion. Unlike the previous suitors, Bassanio quickly and confidently dismisses the chests of gold and silver, finding himself moved by the paleness

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or plainness of the "meagre lead. The contrast is between those who try to understand the meaning of inscriptions on their own and read it by their own lights, and those who receive the graces of sacramental life, or between Moroccos and Arragons unmediated reading and Bassanios mediated hearing of the Word. This contrast expresses the profound difference between the Reformers claim to the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for salvation (39 Articles of Religion, Art. VI) and the Catholic doctrine that the sacraments administered by the Church are necessary for salvation (Roman Catechism, 141; CCC, 141). Shakespeare makes the audience aware that Bassanios success in finding his joy depends not on his reading of the Bible but on the graces of the sacraments. C H A R AC T E R S We turn first to the character of Antonio. The play abounds with evidence that he is a figure of Jesus Christfrom his unusual sadness in the opening scene, like Christs in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36 ff.; Mk. 14:32 ff.; Lk. 22:39 ff.; Jn. 18:1 ff.) to his trial in which he is ready to surrender his life for his friend (Jn. 14:12-15). In the plays final conciliatory scene, Antonio, liberated from the death that threatened at his trial, makes a sudden appearance some two hours before sunrise (V.i.295, 303)about the time when Jesus arose from death on Easter morning (Jn. 20:1). Introducing Antonio to Portia, Bassanio says This is the man, (V.i.134), repeating Pilates words on presenting Jesus: Ecce homo (Jn. 19:5). The name Antonio is said to mean priceless, as in the Gospels pearl of great price to buy which the merchant sold all he owned, further indicating the full significance of the merchant in the title. The Roman Church honors Christ with the name of High Priest, from whom all Catholic priests are said to derive their powers and dignity (Roman Catechism, 321-22, 330). The Catholic Church long since adopted the requirement of celibacy for priests, in imitation of Christs celibacy. The Anglican communion by contrast, consistent with its purpose of reducing the differences between laity and ministry, dispensed with the clerical vow of celibacy and permitted its priests as for all other Christian men to marry (39 Articles of Religion, 1553, Art. XXXII). Thus the Christ figure Antonio reacts sharply (Fie, fie! I.i.47) to his friend Solanios playful charge that Antonio is in love, since Christ Himself and His priests lived celibate lives. Toveys suggestion of a rivalry between Antonio and Portia for Bassanios love is as unconvincing as her conjecture of the two mens homosexual attraction. Portia remarks

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favorably of Antonio from the moment she hears of him and his extraordinary sacrifice for Bassanio: she offers to pay Shylock twelve times the principal on which Antonio has defaulted Before a friend of this description Shall lose a hair through Bassanios fault (III.ii.300-301). He is a true friend to Bassanio (307). Lorenzo speaking of Antonio tells Portia: [I]f you knew to whom you show this honor, How true a gentleman you send relief, How dear a lover of my lord your husband (III.iv.5-7). She responds: in companions That do converse and waste the time together, Whose souls do bear an egall yoke of love, There must be needs a like proportion Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit; Which makes me think that this Antonio Being the bosom lover of my lord, Must needs be like my lord (11-18). Later, after the trial, Bassanio introduces Antonio to Portia: This is Antonio, To whom I am so infinitely bound, to which she answers: You should in all sense be much bound to him, For (as I hear) he was much bound for you, adding Sir, you are very welcome to our house: It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy (V.i.134-37, 139-41). Even after Antonio admits that he is responsible for Bassanios giving away Portias ring, Portia does not resent him; rather she welcomes Antonio again to her home (273). Christs love (agap) for mankind is unconditional and unlimited. Antonios acts of love for Bassanio from beginning to end do not indicate a perverse attraction (ers) but represent Jesus willing sacrifice of His life to redeem mankind from the debt of sin. As Paul expresses this in 2 Cor. 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Nor is there any need to suppose that Antonio is buying Bassanios love or spoiling him by his lavish generosity. Bassanio stands in the situation of all human beings. From a Catholic viewpoint, God ceaselessly pours down the gifts of life, grace, and even material abundance on men, culminating in the supreme gift of Himself for mans redemption. Of none of these gifts is Bassanio or any other human being worthy, above all the gift of eternal happiness, since sin entered the world through our first parents. Whatever may be said about the differences between classical and Christian standards of friendship (Tovey 1981, 227), in Antonios constant gift-giving to Bassanio and his almost eager willingness to sacrifice his own life for him, Shakespeare provides a favorable presentation of Christs love for man which is comprehensive and which imparts meaning and dignity to all human relationships.

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We can now understand the conclusion of Portias elaborate pretense that Bassanio has given her marriage ring to another. As she finally discloses that she herself has the ring Bassanio had given away, she hands it not to Bassanio but to Antonio. He is to give it in turn to Bassanio, for Antonio is the surety or guarantor of conjugal faithfulness. Her first giving of her ring directly to Bassanio formed only a natural contract of marriage, according to Catholic doctrine (Roman Catechism, 342). Though divinely instituted, their original marriage was not perfected. It is not surprising that this imperfect marriage is soon engulfed in charges and denials of adultery. Marriage is perfected only by being sacramentalized, which takes place when Christ Himself is its guarantor: Antonio thus becomes the intermediary in the giving of the marriage ring (V.i.247-57). Shakespeare could not have expressly said so much, but the episode of the rings symbolically teaches the audience to recognize marriage as a sacrament. But this teaching indicates Shakespeares rejection of the Reformed doctrine that Baptism and the Lords Supper are the only two sacraments, in favor of the Catholic position on seven sacraments, including Matrimony (Roman Catechism, 338-55; 39 Articles of Religion, 1553, Art. XXV). In the trial scene (IV.i) Shylock presses for justice under the law requiring the fulfillment of his contracted terms with Antonio, thus allowing him to cut a pound of flesh from Antonios body, which will certainly kill him. Bloom, Tovey, and other interpreters observe that Antonio makes little effort to defend himself or use all the legal means at his command, and they accuse him of seeking martyrdom, a supremely selfish way of dominating Bassanios affections forever (Bloom 1964, 27; Tovey 1981, 227). But Antonios seeming passivity closely resembles Jesus in the court of Pontius Pilate (Jn. 18 and 19). He barely responded to Pilates questioning even knowing that Pilate, like the Duke in the play, hoped for some reason or excuse to release him. Jesus described himself as bearing witness (marturs) to the truth (Jn. 18:37). Pilate too wondered why Jesus did not make the effort to defend himself (Jn. 19:10). When Shylock demands that the Duke enforce the law, he makes almost the same political threat (If you deny it, let the danger light Upon your charter and your citys freedom! IV.i.38-39) that the crowd make against the vacillating Pilate ([T]he Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar). Just as they preferred that Pilate release the notorious criminal Barabbas rather than Jesus (Jn. 18:39-40), Shylock sneers at Christian husbands, saying of his daughter, who had eloped with the

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Christian Lawrence, Would any of the stock of Barrabas Had been her husband, rather than a Christian (291-93). The Duke sees no legal way to refuse Shylocks demand for Antonios flesh. Like Pilate, he needs a deus ex machina. Pilate desperately but unsuccessfully sent Jesus to Herod who officially outranked Pilate. The Duke calls upon a learned doctor named Bellario for advice, which comes with complete success in the person of a disguised Portia. Bellarios letter describes this masquerading character as a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthazar (152-53). The outcomes of the two trials, of Jesus and Antonio, seem entirely different: Jesus is condemned and crucified while the Christ-like Antonio is saved from execution by Portia. Why?

To supply the answer, we turn to the character of Portia. Following a reference in the text (at I.i.165-66), commentators compare her to the wealthy and intelligent wife of Brutus and daughter of Cato. She is thought by some to be pagan, not Christian. Portias name according to standard references means gift, offering, or possibly keeper of the gate. If my analysis of the casket scene is correct, Portia symbolizes the Catholic Church, which is characterized in the terms translating her name (Roman Catechism, 116-17; 256-59; Mt. 16:19). Portia is honored by other characters in terms usually reserved for religion: Bassanio swore a secret pilgrimage to her (I.i.120); Gratiano promises to behave like a monk or priest in her presence at Belmont (II.ii.180-88); to Lorenzo she has a noble and a true conceit Of godlike amity (III.iv.2-3); Jessica says that Bassanio has such a blessing in his lady, He finds the joys of heaven here on earth, And if on earth he do not merit it, In reason he should never come to heaven (III.v.69-72). From a Catholic standpoint this makes perfect sense. When Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He uttered the following words to the gathered apostles: This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me (Lk. 22:19). Since his apostles were the first priests of the Church, through the Eucharistic acts of the clergy over centuries, the Church has kept alive the flesh of Christ in continual commemoration of His self-sacrifice at Mass. If Christ saves mankind by the one-time sacrifice of His life (Heb. 10:14), the Church, in obedience to His command to commemorate Him, has also saved Christ from being forgotten. Without the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a fading memory would be all that remained. The efficacy of the Roman Church in preserving the living heart of Christianity is pointed by Shakespeares making Portia save the Christ-like Antonio at his trial. For similar reasons, the living image of Portia

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rather than Antonio is reserved in the lead casket. As Bassanio enters the chamber to make his choice, Portia remarks I stand for sacrifice and Live thou, I live (III.ii.57, 61): the Catholic Church preserves the life of Christ. Accordingly Antonio honors her this way near the end of the play: Sweet lady, you have given me life and living (V.i.286). Rome was certainly not the place an Englishman of Elizabeths establishment would have looked to for succor, especially after the Act Prohibiting Bulls from Rome and other anti-Catholic laws. The Anglican Reformers feared and detested Rome. Yet Antonios champion enters the trial scene as a doctor from Rome whose body is young but whose head contains old wisdom. This doctor knows the law well, as the trial will demonstrate. Over the centuries the Catholic Church had created a great body of canon law with far reaching consequences for both the Church and the social and political order. A doctor of course is a healer as well as a teacher. The doctor, Portia in disguise, appears as a man named Balthazar. According to popular tradition (not from the Bible), a Balthasar was one of the wise men of the East who followed the star to Bethlehem, were the first pagans to recognize and worship the infant Jesus, and gave him the first Christmas gifts. Balthasar and the others learned that King Herod meant to harm the child and accordingly, despite his request, did not return to inform him of Jesus location (Mt. 2:12). Although the name would have resonated in that way for Shakespeares audience, in the play the name certainly if not exclusively refers to the prophet Daniel of the Old Testament (Dan. 5:12). His wisdom was proverbial even among the heathen (Eze. 28:3). Daniels fame for good judgment and knowledge of the law were so widespread that when Balthazar makes Shylocks case for him, the latter exults that the doctor is a Daniel come to judgment: yea a Daniel! (IV.i.219). Later when Balthazar deftly turns the law against Shylock, it is Antonios friend Gratiano who proclaims him as a second Daniel (IV.i.329, 336). Portia in the guise of a Roman doctor brings to mind the Church in more than her knowledge of law. The repeated references to the Book of Daniel also recall the best-known of the stories of Daniel, his being cast into the lions den. Christian preaching and literature conventionally referred to Daniel as the type of the Church in times of persecution. The biblical story teaches constancy and witness in the face of cruel persecution rather than apostasy or desertion (Knight 1971, 437). Catholics struggling to remain within their faith could not be unaware of these implications on seeing Portia as Balthazar-Daniel in the trial scene.

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Let us briefly consider a character who is referred to but never appears on stage, an Englishman named Falconbridge, one of the suitors Portia speaks of in Act I, Scene 2. At Portias request, her servant Nerissa mentions seven suitors in turn, the central being the young baron Falconbridge, who happens to be the only Englishman on the list. Now there is a character of the identical name in Shakespeares King John, written contemporaneously with Merchant of Venice. All but created by Shakespeare, the latter Falconbridge was the bastard son of Englands heroic King Richard (White 1964, 150). He appears as a courageous patriot who tries to protect the England he loves from political subjection to France as well as the Roman Pope. Falconbridge speaks these famous last words of the play: nought shall make us rue, If England to itself do rest but true. Falconbridge personifies old England. Merchants audience would compare Portias suitor with the loyal bastard of King John. Portia has nothing but scorn for her suitor Falconbridge:
he understands not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English: he is a proper mans picture, but, alas, who can converse with a dumb-show? How oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany and his behaviour every where. (I.ii.67-73)

This current version of England is a proper mans picture: he looks physically like old pre-Reformed England, but he cannot speak Latin, the church tongue in the time of King John. He is a dumb-show, reduced to silence, a motley collection of outward appearances and inconsistent habits. His Italian doublet suggests the mere shell or imitation of Catholicism in the external religious forms of contemporary England, his French socks the Calvinism of the Puritans, his German hatthe head principlesuggesting the Lutheranism from which Englands Reformed establishment was mainly drawn. Portia spurns the England represented by this characterless Falconbridge. He is false to the England of old which his patriot namesake called to be true to itself.

Turning to Bassanio, the suitor Portia loves who will win her hand, we see his character as ardent, impulsive, headstrong, at times forgetful, and even fearful. There is no question of his strong attachment to Antonio,

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strengthened by Antonios abundant generosities to him; yet he shows no reluctance to woo Portia, indeed to risk everything to win her hand. Bassanio as Shakespeare presents him resembles the chief apostle of Christ, Peter, with his virtues and weaknesses. Consider several comparative examples. Peter is impulsive to the point of rashness. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he wildly swings a sword to prevent Jesus from being taken by the guards and crowd that came out against him (Jn. 18:10; Mt. 26:51; Mk. 14:47; Lk. 22:50). Peter boasts that he is ready to lay down his life for Jesus, even if all the other apostles fall away (Jn. 14:37; Lk. 22:33. Mt. 26:33-35; Mk. 14:29). Similarly the spirited Bassanio encourages Antonio at the beginning of his trial, boasting that The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood (IV.i.112-13). Bassanio repeatedly protests his love for Antonio. During the trial he tells Antonio: life itself, my wife, and all the world, Are not with me esteemd above thy life. I would lose all, ay sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you (IV.i.280-83). Later in Belmont, Bassanio introduces Antonio to Portia, as the manTo whom I am so infinitely bound (V.i.134-35) The depth of Bassanios love for Antonio is perfectly intelligible in the light of Peters profound friendship for Jesus, especially as it emerges in the last chapter of the Gospel of John (21:15-17). Walking along the shore after having prepared a breakfast meal for the apostles, Jesus asks him:
Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapas] thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love [phil] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapas] thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love [phil] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [phileis] thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest [phileis] thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love [phil] thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Jesus threefold question which so aggrieved Peter was not asked for personal or selfish reasons. About to depart this world, Jesus impresses on Peter his duty to feed my sheep. The Catholic interpretation of this command given to Peter alone is to make him understand his pontifical mission. As Christ in His earthly life was the Good Shepherd who

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ministered to the needs of His sheep who believe in Him, so Peter, the Vicar of Christ, must continue that ministry (Roman Catechism, 333). At Jn. 10:16 Jesus says: there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Catholics understand this verse to mean that Christians must be united in one Church under the visible shepherd, the Pope. I am unable to find a specific meaning for the name Bassanio apart from its apparent root in the Latin basis in the sense of foundation,pedestal. For Catholics the declaration by Christ of the founding of the Church under the primacy of Peter is given in Mt. 16:18: thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus in fact renames Simon Peter to refer to rock (petra). In Jn. 1:42 Jesus declares: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas [Kphas] , which is by interpretation, A stone. Translations other than the King James Version say Cephas, which is interpreted Peter, getting the name more precisely but missing the intended pun. The office entrusted to Peter of feeding the sheep includes many tasks and gifts, but first among them is certainly the spreading and teaching of the truth about Christ. Two New Testament epistles are traditionally ascribed to Peter in his teaching office. Antonio rejects Bassanios impulsive offer to die as his substitute in satisfaction of Shylocks demand for flesh. Instead Antonio tells him: You cannot better be employd Bassanio, Than to live still and write mine epitaph (IV.i.117-18) Antonio had taken pains to persuade Bassanio to be present at the trial to witness his bloodshed and death for Bassanios debt (III.ii.314-20). Bassanio resists Antonios self-sacrifice just as Peter resisted Christ when he explained his coming passion and death: Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men (Mt. 16:22-23: this scene immediately follows the donation of papal authority to Peter quoted above). In order to understand the significance of Antonios death in sacrifice for the debts incurred by man and to carry out his saving mission of teaching men about that sacrifice, Bassanio must be a witness, otherwise his epitaph could not be attested. This interpretation of Bassanio as a representation of Peter, the first of the popes, is strengthened by his relationship to Portia, representing

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the Church. Portia repeatedly submits herself to Bassanios headship, even before he makes his choice of the caskets (One half of me is yours, the other half yours,Mine own I would say: but if mine then ours, And so all yours III.ii.16-18). Responding to his choosing the lead casket and winning her as his wife, she exclaims: Happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit Commits itself to yours to be directed, As from her lord, her governor, her king (163-65). The analogy or type of husband to wife and Christ to Church, in Catholic doctrine, comes from the letter to the Ephesians, at 5:22-32, partly quoted above. Paul writes:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head [kephal] of the wife, even as Christ is the head [kephal] of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. This is a great mystery [DRV: sacrament]: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Peter, as Christs Vicar on earth, retains headship over the Church just as Bassanio has become the head of Portia in marriage. The quarrel over the ring which takes place in the last scene of the play might then be understood in context. One of the most important symbols of the authority of the Pope is the so-called ring of the fisherman, used as the official seal on papal documents. The fishermans ring, for example, sealed the bulls by which Popes had excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and other English monarchs. Depicting Peter casting a net from his boat, the ring is brought into the conclave where a new Pope is to be elected and is given to him immediately as the sign of office. The name he has chosen is later embossed in place. Upon his death his ring is broken up and a new one cast for his successor. Note that the ring is given to the Pope by the Church, represented by the cardinals in conclave. The fishermans ring as well as the rings worn by bishops are often said to represent spiritual marriage to the Church. (At his installation ceremony in April 2005, the new Pope Benedict XVI emphasized his spiritual marriage by breaking with tradition and wearing his ring on the ring finger used by married men.) For a Pope to surrender his fishermans ring to another (such as the monarch of England) would truly and symbolically corrupt the Church by abandoning her to whoring after false gods.

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Portia gives a ring to Bassanio immediately after he discovers her image in the lead casket. Indeed with the ring she declares that This house, these servants, and this same myself Are yours,my lords! (III.ii.170-71), and he promises to keep it till death (183-85). After the disguised Portia has saved Antonio, she asks Bassanio to grant her his ring in tribute. He refuses in spite of Balthazars assertion that if your wife be not a mad-woman, And know how well I have deservd this ring, She would not hold out enemy for ever For giving it to me: well, peace be with you! (IV.i.441-44) Bassanio is clearly conflicted but Antonio persuades him, on the grounds of the advocates deserved merit and Antonios love as against the commandement of his wife, to give up the ring. This of course leads to Portias and Bassanios quarrel. The humiliated Bassanio thinks of Jesus saying that it is better to cut off your hand than to burn in hell for giving offence (Mt. 5:30; Mk. 9:43) (V.i.177). Hearing that the ring was given to the doctor who defended Antonio, Portia threatens to have that doctor for my bedfellow (233). Antonio admits that he is the reason for the dispute, but in a way that ensures the fidelity of the marriage: whereas he once loaned his body to secure Bassanios wealth, he now binds himself more completelyMy soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly (249-53). Tovey and Bloom interpret this as Portias ultimate victory in her competition with Antonio for Bassanios love (Tovey 1981, 232; Bloom 1964, 29). But this could be true only if Bassanio had renounced his faith in Christ. Bassanios and Portias marriage, on both the literal and symbolic spiritual levels, is guaranteed by the Christlike Antonio.

Let us turn finally to the character of Shylock. While the antagonism between him and Antonio drives the action of the play, it is an exaggeration to make their relationship, as Jew and Christian, the central subject of Merchant. Shylock has a certain dignity that we must respect, exemplified in the famous and moving I am a Jew speech (at III.i.47-66). His human nature understandably takes offense at the insults of Antonios Christian friendsGratiano, for instance, the worst babbler in Venice (I.i.114-18), who tells Shylock to hang himself rather than be baptized and redeemed (IV.i.360-63, 375, 394-96). We cannot help but notice that Jesus apostles too were at times inexcusably overzealous: John and James wanted heaven to rain fire on a Samaritan village that did not receive Jesus: Lk. 9:54-56; John and others ordered those not recognized as His followers to stop

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using Jesus Name to drive out devils: Lk. 9:49; the disciples rebuked parents who brought infants to Jesus to be blessed: Lk. 18:15-16; Mk. 10:13-14; Mt. 19:13-15. The mutual hostility between the Jew Shylock and the Christian Antonio grates on our modern sensibilities. Antonios harshness toward Shylock may stand in the way of our seeing in him the figure of Christ. More than a few interpreters have insisted that Antonio, or Shakespeare himself, must have appealed to English anti-Semitic prejudice, forgetting that Jews had been expelled from England over three hundred years before and were practically unknown. At no point in the play does Antonio speak against Jews in general. In the most intelligent and sensitive treatment of the problem of Shylock, Shylock and the Jewish Question, Martin Yaffe takes pains to refute the charge that Shakespeare or his play is anti-Semitic (1997, 1-23). A Catholic reading of the Gospel accounts, as I shall elaborate below, reflects the relationship between Antonio and Shylock. That relationship mirrors the actual and growing hostility between Jesus and the Pharisees and the ultimate treason of Judas. A deliberate examination of the New Testament reveals that Jesus and his disciples distinguish between Jews who are faithful to their heritage as Gods chosen people and those who are not faithful. Jesus and His apostles were Jews who understood the Messiah as the fulfillment of promises the Lord repeated to His people over many centuries. Jesus in the Gospels never asks faithful Jews to convert from Judaism to Christianity. He calls Jews to follow me, to become His disciples. Jews who become Catholic even now do not claim to have abandoned Judaism. In 1945 the chief rabbi of Rome during World War II, Eugenio Zolli, became a Catholic and was asked whether he still considered himself a Jew. He responded, Did Peter, James, John, Matthew, Paul, and hundreds of Hebrews like themselves cease to be Jews when they followed the Messias, and became Christians? Emphatically no (Klyber 1953). Jesus tells those who are not true to their own Jewish heritage to repent of sin and to recognize Him as the promised Messiah. Jesus message in the Gospels is philo-Semitic: be true to Judaism! Thus His antagonism toward certain Jews arose when those who rejected Him as Messiahwhom He saw as unfaithful Jewsconcluded that He was a man who blasphemed by holding himself up as God. Jewish law prescribed the death penalty for blasphemers.

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Yaffes careful account (written from a Jewish standpoint) of Shakespeares Shylock provides the key insight: he does not keep faith with his heritage. He is presented in the play as a bad Jew (16). Whereas Jewish law inculcates decency and compassion, Shylock lacks compassion. He claims to follow Jewish dietary restrictions, then flouts them. He loves his wealth so much that he cannot separate the loss of his money from the loss of his only daughter. His reading of his Bible is loose, self-serving, hypocritical or ignorant. He thinks that Jews and Christians only share not the high moral demands of the Hebrew Bible but the base animal appetites of the human body: Shylock imitates the vices of Christians such as revenge seeking, but not their virtues (61-65). In the precise sense of the Gospel story of the selfrighteous Pharisee and the humble publican (Lk. 10:10-14), Shylock is pharisaical, self-righteously looking down on Antonio as a fawning publican (I.iii.36). As both Lewalski (338-42) and Yaffe (74-77) observe, the disguised Portias quality of mercy courtroom speech, appealing to the ideals of the Lords Prayer, is no more Christian than Jewish in its call to forgiveness. Shakespeares Shylock could not recognize the Messiah promised to his people because he is faithless or hypocritical toward his own Judaism. Shylocks seeming or supposed conversion must be understood by carefully examining the sequence of events as the trial draws to a conclusion. Balthazar, the disguised Portia, has just demonstrated that the law effectively stops Shylock from his plan to take Antonios flesh, forcing him to abandon his lawsuit (IV.i.341-42). The counsel now asserts that Shylock has plotted against Antonios life and according to the law, the offender loses all his wealth, one half as a fine to the state, the other half to the intended victim, Antonio. Moreover the government may punish him by death (343-59). Before Shylock can respond, the Duke on behalf of the state pardons him his life but reasserts the forfeit of his property. At this point Shylock bursts out that he will surrender his life since the means for him to live have been confiscated (370-73): Shylock values his wealth more than his life. It is only after Shylock expresses his willingness to die that Antonio, asked what mercy you can render him (374), proposes for the first time that Shylock presently become a Christian, and that he also be allowed to keep half of his wealth during the rest of his life provided he will it to his son Lorenzo and his own daughter Jessica, Lorenzos wife, upon his death (376-86). The Duke intervenes here to reiterate the original penalty if Shylock does not accept Antonios proposal (387-88). As we have seen, however, Shylock had already accepted the death penalty. Only now does Shylock state he is content with this settlement that includes his conversion.

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Thus, on careful examination of the penalty sequence, we cannot claim the apparent conversion has been forced if this means Shylock has been compelled to choose between accepting Christianity or accepting execution. Shylock had already chosen death before the offer of conversion was made. The decisive choice for him was to become Christian while continuing to live on half of his wealth. Nor is he barred from continuing to practice his business of usury. We may doubt, however, that Shylock, Judas to Antonios Christ, has been converted in any sense. In Matthews Gospel Judas is said to have repented himself on seeing Jesus condemned, saying I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood (27:3-6). Judas then flings down the silver he had been paid and hangs himself: Judas regrets his betrayal of Jesus Whom he sees as innocent but commits suicide in despair. Shylocks claim to be content with the trial settlement is followed immediately by his claim to be sick. His distracted agreement to sign the documents sent to him implies not necessarily that he will become Christian but that he recognizes that he has wronged Antonio. In the plays few remaining hours, we learn nothing of what has become of him. Perhaps we are meant to wonder whether Shylock consented to Gratianos insinuation that he should suffer Judas awful fate. BELMONT Belmont, Portias home throughout the play, is given to Bassanio in marriage and is the site of the plays final scene of reconciliation and happiness. Bloom points out that unlike Venice, there is no known place in Italy called Belmont. He argues that the happy life at Belmont must have no laws, no conventions, no religionsjust men and women basking in the glow of Eros. Belmont is pagan, everyone there speaks in the terms of classical antiquity (24). Could it be Parnassus? Bloom asks (30, 34). Bloom could not have been more mistaken. This scene at Belmont is an exuberant Easter event. The tabernacle and casket containing the Eucharist had reposed in Belmont. The heavens above Belmont provide eternal reminders of the flesh of Christ resting on patens of gold. Holy candles burn at night in Portias house (V.i.89-92, 220). There are holy crosses on the way where Portia kneels and prays For happy wedlock hours (30-32). Act V, Scene 1 opens with a sweet dialogue between Lorenzo and Jessica, alone in a grove in quiet moonlight. They begin a duet of eight sentences each starting with the expression In such a night and then order that music be played from the house.

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Nothing in the entire Catholic liturgical year surpasses the joy of Easter Sunday, which begins at midnight when the fire of the lighted Easter candle is brought into the dark church to the pronouncement lumen Christi! Among the most exalted moments is the hymn called the Paschal Proclamation, which begins with the word Exsultet. Liturgical music joyfully returns at this moment of the Easter vigil after being forbidden during the silence from the beginning of the Triduum on Holy Thursday until this moment. The Paschal Proclamations spirit of freedom and celebration, some of its very words, and the constantly repeated expression this is the night pervade the last scene of Merchant of Venice. The hymn begins:
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around Gods throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!

At V.i.60-63 Lorenzo says to Jessica, Theres not the smallest orb which thou beholdst But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyd cherubins; Such harmony is in immortal souls. Shortly after, at 121-22 the stage directions call for a tucket and Lorenzo says to Portia, Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet. Bassanio then enters accompanied by the Christ-figure of Antonio. The Proclamation continues:
This is our Passover feast, When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, Whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers. This is the night when first you saved our fathers: You freed the people of Israel from their slavery And led them dry-shod through the sea. This is the night when the pillar of fire Destroyed the darkness of sin! This is the night when Christians everywhere, Washed clean of sin And freed from all defilement, Are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

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This is the night when Jesus Christ Broke the chains of death And rose triumphant from the grave. What good would life have been to us, Had Christ not come as our Redeemer? Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave You gave away your Son. O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, Which gained for us so great a Redeemer! Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God To see Christ rising from the dead! Of this night scripture says: The night will be as clear as day; it will become my light, my joy.

Portia on first entering the moonlit scene says: This night methinks is but the daylight sick, It looks a little paler,tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid (123-26).
The power of this holy night Dispels all evil, washes guilt away, Restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; It casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride. Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth And man is reconciled with God!

Portia and Bassanio, about to quarrel over their wedding ring, will quickly be reconciled and wedded not just naturally but sacramentally, secured by the divine figure Antonio.
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, Receive our evening sacrifice of praise, Your Churchs solemn offering. Accept this Easter candle, A flame divided but undimmed, A pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

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Let it mingle with the lights of heaven And continue bravely burning To dispel the darkness of this night! May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, And shed his peaceful light on all mankind, Your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. (Socias 1993, 36668)

As the two women enter, Portia observes: That light we see is burning in my hall: How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. Nerissa responds, When the moon shone we did not see the candle. Portias reply evokes the Proclamation: So doth the greater glory dim the less,A substitute shines brightly as a king Until a king be by, and then his state Empties itself (89-96). A few moments later, Antonio appears. Belmont means beautiful mountain. Psalm 48:2 says: Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. In Catholic ecclesiology, references to Mount Zion and to the great city of Jerusalem mystically represent the Catholic Church (Roman Catechism, 106-8). As Lewalski says: Belmont figures forth the Heavenly City (343). Medieval Catholic literature such as Dantes was filled with images and symbols having pagan origins, such as the angelic harmony of the spheres (V.i.60-65) and mentions of ancient gods. Belmonts sexual openness and joking, in service to marital fidelity, may have made Reformers and Puritans scowl, but they are no less true to a Catholic theology of the body than the Old Testaments Song of Songs which, according to one Catholic-sponsored Bible exposition, presents a love as free of puritanical restraint as it is of licentious excess. Over and above this literal meaning, it is perfectly permissible to apply the Song to the relationship between Christ and his Church (Jerusalem Bible, 1029). Even Chaucers bawdy Canterbury Tales, a particularly splendid example of medieval Catholic allegory, centers on the Eucharist, as Dolores Cullens interpretive work, Chaucers Host: Up-So-Doun, has demonstrated. Finally, as Yaffe and Tovey point out in various ways, Belmont is home to philosophy, the love of wisdom (Yaffe 1997, 85; Tovey 1981, 234-37). The Catholic teaching on heaven not only does not conflict with philosophy; the fulfillment of that love of wisdom is the deepest reason for seeking eternal life with God. At the beginning of the play we learned that Antonio had

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sent his merchandise-laden ships out over the globe, to places such as Tripoli, Mexico, England, Lisbon, Barbary, and India. Discussing Antonios ventures in the first scene, Antonios friend Salerio thinks of his ships as churches, holy edifices of stone. He imagines one named my wealthy Andrew, running aground (I.i.22-36). The ship was named after Andrew, an apostle and brother of Peter. Every ship seemingly has foundered (III.ii.26770), perhaps including one rumored to have sunk in the English Channel (II.viii.27-32). The apparent failure of his ships leads directly to the threat of Shylock executing his contracted penalty against Antonio. Yet in Belmont, after Antonios Easter-like appearance, Portia tells him that at least three ships have suddenly returned safely and profitably. Portia will say only that the letter bearing this better news came to her by some strange accident (278). By ancient tradition the symbol of the Catholic Church is a ship, after Peters frail fishing vessel. The meaning of Antonios ships and their destiny is clear. During Jesus ministry Peter, Andrew, and the other apostles had little success in their mission to preach the Kingdom. The apostles themselves fled and abandoned Him at the crucifixion. Anyone looking at the Church founded on the rock of Peter at the moment of the Crucifixion would have said it had failed. Only after the Resurrection did the Church begin to succeed and grow as the Gospel merchandise was sent out to nations around the world. This is the better news that Portia brings to Antonio at his Easter appearance in Belmont. We do not learn whether any of his vessels successfully crossed the channel on its mission to England. C O N C LU S I O N The esotericism of Christianitys great poets is an extremely complex problem. This article will have achieved its purpose if has shown that The Merchant of Venice covertly preserves and affirms the Eucharistic principle at the heart of the Catholic Mass, which Elizabeths government was determined to eradicate. Shakespeare deeply understood and appreciated classical philosophy. During the Middle Ages the Church became the home and refuge of philosophy, sheltering and preserving its literary treasures and traditions in monasteries, universities and libraries against despotic kings and marauding barbarians. It was far from clear that the Reformed version of Christianity, founded by a king who sacked those treasures, could accept the heritage of learning which Shakespeare loved. If Shakespeare did not embrace the truths of Catholicism, he had no other reason to take such pains to conceal the

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liturgical mystery which constitutes the living heart of the Catholic Church. On a literary level Shakespeare himself in Merchant of Venice imitated the merchant priests forced to celebrate Mass in secret. Shakespeares esotericism constituted the means by which the flesh and blood of Christ might be salvaged during an age of ferocious persecution, against the day when England, instructed by his poetry, might recover its ancient faith along with its political sanity. September 2005 A.D. Year of the Eucharist ADDENDUM As the first draft of this article was being completed, Clare Asquiths ingenious book Shadowplay came to my attention. Asquith has gone beyond any previous interpreter in recognizing and showing that Shakespeares plays rest on an encoded or secret pro-Catholic foundation. Asquiths book is a remarkable example of the truth of Strausss teaching on how intelligent readers learn to read esoterically. So far as I can tell, Asquiths account of how she came to discover the encoded nature of Shakespeares writing gives no indication that she has ever read or heard of Leo Strauss or his method of interpretation. More remarkably, her personal experiences of a Moscow performance of Chekhov which opened her eyes to literary ambiguities and secret literature uncannily resembles Strausss hypothetical example of esoteric writing in a one-party totalitarian country (Strauss 1973, 24-25; Asquith 2005, xiii-xiv). I believe she has made a number of mistakes in her approach, but these errors are traceable to two problems: first, the enormous scope of these works needs more meticulous study and time than she has given them, and second, her unwarranted assumption that Shakespeare was carrying on a kind of dialogue with Queen Elizabeth to persuade her to end anti-Catholic persecution. Asquith does not recognize that Shakespeare, in the context of the religious conflict of his time, addressed an enduring issue of political life, termed by Strauss the theological-political problem. His plays and poetry have perennial and universal significance because they speak to an issue that transcends his place and time. That said, Asquith has discerned so many features of Shakespeares covert art and so clearly identified his pro-Catholic intention, that all Shakespeare interpretation in the future must take account of her

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brilliant insights. Shadowplay marks a revolution in Shakespeare studies. This articles thesis concerning Merchant of Venice is virtually the same as that developed in Shadowplay for the entire Shakespeare corpus. I was especially persuaded by her insight into Merchants encoded references to the Easter Triduum and vigil ceremonies (119) and I have introduced some of her observations, which I gratefully acknowledge, in revising this article.

REFERENCES An Act to Restrain Abuses of Players. 1606. http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/SLTnoframes/literature/censorship.html Asquith, Clare. 2005. The Catholic Bard. Shakespeare and the Old Religion. Commonweal 132:12 (June 17, 2005). http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php?id_article=1297 Asquith, Clare. 2005. Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare. New York: PublicAffairs. The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues: and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by His Majestys special command. Authorized King James Version [KJV]. n.d. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. The Holy Bible: Translated from the Latin Vulgate, diligently compared with the Hebrew, Greek, and other editions in divers languages. Douay Rheims Version. [DRV] 1971. Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers. The New Jerusalem Bible. 1985. New York: Doubleday. Bloom, Allan. 1964. On Christian and Jew: The Merchant of Venice. In Shakespeares Politics, by Allan Bloom, with Harry V. Jaffa. New York and London: Basic Books. Book of Common Prayer (including The order for administration of the Lords Supper, or Holy Communion). 1559. http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/BCP_1559.htm Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II. [CCC] 2000. Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

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Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, Issued by Order of Pope Pius V. [Roman Catechism]. 1982. Trans. John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan. Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers. Cullen, Dolores L. 1998. Chaucers Host: Up-So-Doun. Santa Barbara: Fithian Press. De Groot, John Henry. 1968. The Shakespeares and The Old Faith. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press. Hartnoll, Phyllis. 1980. A Concise History of the Theatre. New York: Charles Scribners Sons. Hoever, Hugo H., ed. 1961. Saint Joseph Daily Missal: The Official Prayers of the Catholic Church for the Celebration of Daily Mass. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. Hopper, Vincent Foster. 2000. Medieval Number Symbolism: Its Sources, Meaning, and Influence on Thought and Expression. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. Hughes, Philip. 1960. A Popular History of the Reformation. Garden City, NY: Image Books. Hume, David. 1850. The History of England: From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Abdication of James the Second, 1688. Vol. IV. New York: Harper & Brothers. Jungmann, Joseph A. 1986. The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development (Missarum Sollemnia). Vol. II. Trans. Francis A. Brunner. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics. Klyber, A. B. 1953. Introduction: The Chief Rabbis Conversion. In Why I Became a Catholic (Before the Dawn): Autobiographical Reflections, by Eugenio Zolli. Harrison, NY: Roman Catholic Books. Knight, George A. F. 1971. The Book of Daniel. In The Interpreters OneVolume Commentary On the Bible, edited by Charles M. Laymon. Nashville: Abingdon Press. Lewalski, Barbara K. 1962. Biblical Allusion and Allegory in The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare Quarterly 13:3 (Summer 1962), 327-43. Milward, Peter. 1975. Shakespeares Religious Background. Chicago: Loyola University Press.

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The Sarum Missal. http://www.justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Sarum/English.htm. Shakespeare, William. 1994. The Merchant of Venice. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Ed. John Russell Brown. London and New York: Routledge. Socias, James, ed. 1993. Daily Roman Missal. Princeton and Chicago: Scepter Publishers and Midwest Theological Forum. Stephenson, Carl, and Frederick George Marcham, eds. and trans. 1937. Sources of English Constitutional History: A Selection of Documents from A.D. 600 to the Present. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row. Strauss, Leo. 1973. Persecution and the Art of Writing. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 39 Articles of Religion. 1553. http://www.britainexpress.com/History/tudor/39articles.htm. Thurston, Herbert J., and Donald Attwater, eds. 1990. Butlers Lives of the Saints. Revised and supplemented. 4 vols. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics. Tovey, Barbara. 1981. The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of The Merchant of Venice. In Shakespeare as Political Thinker, edited by John Alvis and Thomas G. West. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. White, Howard B. 1964. Bastards and Usurpers: Shakespeares King John. In Ancients and Moderns: Essays on the Tradition of Political Philosophy in Honor of Leo Strauss, edited by Joseph Cropsey. New York and London: Basic Books. _____. 1968. Peace Among the Willows: The Political Philosophy of Francis Bacon. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. _____. 1970. Copp'd Hills Towards Heaven: Shakespeare and the Classical Polity. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Yaffe, Martin D. 1997. Shylock and the Jewish Question. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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A Change of Orientation: Leo Strausss Comments on Carl Schmitt Revisited

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A Change of Orientation: Leo Strausss Comments on Carl Schmitt Revisited


DAV I D J A N S S E N S TILBURG UNIVERSITY D.Janssens@uvt.nl

Still, we should not fight harshly with one another, but should rather make a calm inquiry about the present matters, since we, as well as they, are very serious about these things. (Plato, Laws)

I The European reception of Leo Strauss has been and continues to be a complicated matter, to say the least. To be sure, his work has been welcomed into a number of European countries for a long time, with France as a leading example. However, the process of recognizing Strauss as a major European thinker in his own right and, subsequently, of his thought as a permanent possession of the European scholarly tradition is still in an early and precarious stage. Without doubt, a decisive impulse was given by the publication of Strausss collected works. The first three volumes that appeared between 1996 and 2001 made available a host of early writings, mostly in German, which had been inaccessible previously. They revealed a distinctly European Strauss, searching and finding a proper voice, both political and philosophical, in the fascinating clamor of the Weimar Republic. As a result, an increasing number of readers and critics inside as well as outside of Germany began to take notice. Before long, however, this process took an unexpected turn. In the light of geopolitical events, Strauss suddenly found himself more or less force-fed to the European public, albeit in a completely different capacity. In
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almost every European country, the media outdid themselves in exposing him as the godfather of neoconservatism, and to denounce him as ultimately responsible for an aggressive policy of regime change abroad and mass deception at home. Even though this portrayal was misguided, not to say ludicrous, it is likely to have influenced the European perception of Strausss work for some time to come. Most of the accusations leveled were hardly new. Thus, it did not come as a surprise that much was made again of Strausss Comments on Carl Schmitts The Concept of the Political (Strauss 1965, 331-51). Reverting to the stratagem of guilt by association (or reductio ad Hitlerum) already deployed by earlier debunkers (Holmes 1993), many critics held up this text as proof of Strausss hyper-Schmittian, anti-liberal, authoritarian and bellicose intentions. There is no need to respond to these allegations, or to dwell upon the significance of the Comments for the understanding of Schmitts thought: others have already done so with great competence (Berkowitz 1994; Behnegar 1995; Meier 1995; Howse 1998; see also Strauss 1999). Rather, in this paper I want to reverse the perspective, and assess the significance of the Comments for Strausss thought. As I will venture to show, this penetrating critical essay, while exposing the difficulties of Schmitts defense of the political, also offers the careful reader a glimpse of the position of its author. Elucidating that position, moreover, throws light on those aspects of Strausss thought that may be regarded as characteristic of the European reception. II As every reader of Strausss famous autobiographical preface to Spinozas Critique of Religion (Strauss 1965, 1-31) learns, by his own judgment the Comments on Schmitt mark an important point in his work. At the end of the preface, Strauss takes a stern and critical look at his own first book in a well-known and often-quoted passage:
The present study was based on the premise, sanctioned by powerful prejudice, that a return to pre-modern philosophy is impossible. The change of orientation which found its expression, not entirely by accident, in the article published at the end of this volume [i.e., the Comments on Schmitt], compelled me to engage in a number of studies in the course of which I became ever more attentive to the manner in which heterodox thinkers of earlier ages wrote their books. (Strauss 1965, 31)

This passage more or less encapsulates the second sailing that took Strauss upon the fascinating voyage generations of readers have had the

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opportunity to become acquainted with. With the rediscovery of the art of writing of heterodox thinkers of earlier times, he gained access to a selfunderstanding of pre-modern thought strikingly at odds with the modern understanding. At the same time, however, the passage carries a singular and oblique reference to the Comments that raises a number of questions. To begin with, in what respect can the Comments be said to express a change of orientation, let alone an orientation? And why did Strauss select this occasion as a first public demonstration of this change, as he indicates? For the words not entirely by accident suggest that some kind of intentionality is at play. What was Strausss purpose in writing and publishing the Comments? In sum, and in Platonic parlance: what, if any, is their logographic necessity? The first question already poses something of a challenge. For while the Comments offer an incisive critique of Schmitts position, on a first reading they appear to disclose little about the authors own perspective. On closer inspection, however, there are some interesting, albeit obscure clues. The most patent one occurs at the end, when Strauss reaches the critical conclusion that Schmitt remains too much entangled in the astoundingly consistent systematics of liberal thought to be able to provide a radical critique of liberalism (Strauss 1965, 351). Such a critique, Strauss states, requires two things that are closely related: gaining a horizon beyond liberalism by developing an adequate understanding of Hobbes, whom he has just identified as the founder of liberalism (336-38; 351). This is the urgent task he sets himself and which, we may say with the benefit of hindsight, he will carry out with surprising results (Strauss 1936). From Strausss conclusion, one might construe him as saying that adequately understanding Hobbes is both the necessary and the sufficient condition for gaining a horizon beyond liberalism. However, when one rereads the Comments in the light of its end, things prove to be more complex: adequately understanding Hobbes requires that one has already begun to recover a horizon beyond liberalism and thus beyond Hobbes. This becomes apparent from the way in which Hobbes is introduced in the Comments. In the second of the essays three sections, Strauss discusses the manner in which Schmitt undertakes to affirm the political, understood in terms of the distinction between friend and foe, over against the liberal project of neutralizing this distinction. To begin with, he points out that Schmitts affirmation of the political requires a critiqueof the prevailing conception of culture (Strauss 1965, 335). As he goes on to explain, this conception, which understands culture as the sovereign creation

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of the human mind, is ultimately based on an understanding of nature as disorder, to be conquered and suppressed by human effort. Subsequently, Strauss singles out the thinker who introduced this understanding of nature on a political level: in accordance with the specifically modern concept of culture, Hobbes understood the status civilisas the opposite of the status naturalis (336). In this way, Strauss delicately criticizes Schmitts enthusiastic espousal of Hobbes as an ally, by showing that Hobbes is in fact the antipolitical thinker, if we understand political in Schmitts sense (Strauss 1965, 339 n. 2). However, he does not merely expose the profound difference between Hobbes and Schmitt. At the same time, he adumbrates a position that differs from that of both Schmitt and Hobbes. In the paragraph preceding the introduction of Hobbeswhich, incidentally, is the central paragraph of the central section of the Commentshe contrasts the modern concept of culture with an earlier and more original concept:
[C]ulture is always cultivation of nature. Originally that means: culture develops the natural disposition; it is careful cultivation of naturewhether of the soil or of the human mind; in this it obeys the indications that nature itself gives. (Strauss 1965, 335; emphasis in the original)

In the same paragraph, moreover, he adds an observation that articulates the political consequences of this original understanding:
[S]ince we understand by culture above all the culture of human nature and since man is by nature an animal sociale, the human nature underlying culture is the natural living together of men. The term for the natural living together thus understood is status naturalis. (Strauss 1965, 336; emphasis in the original)

Oddly enough, when Strauss goes on to introduce Hobbes, he merely hints at the fact that, on this latter point as well, the modern position is radically opposed to the ancient: insofar as Hobbes characterizes the status naturalis as the status belli simply (Strauss 1965, 336), he espouses a different understanding of the status naturalis that denies the natural sociability of man (see Hobbes 1994, Ch. 13; Strauss 1936, 123; 1953, 169; 1959, 176 n. 2; 1983, 144). Thus, both as regards culture and as regards human nature, Hobbes makes his appearance in the Comments in contrast with an earlier, more original position that differs no less from the position taken by Schmitt. Although Strauss doesnt explicitly identify this understanding, his choice of words reveals its pedigree: while animal sociale clearly recalls the Aristotelian

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definition of man as a zion politikon (Aristotle 1977, 1253a8), the reference to culture as the cultivation of the human mind in obedience to the indications of nature echoes the Ciceronian definition of philosophy as cultura animi (Cicero 1971, II.v.13). In other words, when Strauss introduces Hobbes, he immediately does so in the light and against the backdrop of classical philosophy. Other indications join to confirm this impression. In the third and final section of the Comments, Strauss carries his critique of Schmitt one step further, by showing that the latters affirmation of the political is ultimately an affirmation of the moral. In the argument leading up to this conclusion, he questions the close connection Schmitt posits between the political and the dangerousness of man. Affirming the former would require affirming the latter, Strauss observes, especially if the affirmation is itself intended as a political act, as Schmitt asserts. However, can one uphold the consequence that whoever is at war actually affirms and wishes the dangerousness of the enemy? As evidence to the contrary, Strauss again appeals to a classical source, a remark of the Roman military commander Caius Fabricius. Hearing an exposition of the philosophic teaching that pleasure is the highest human good, Fabricius is reported to have said: O Hercules, may Pyrrhus and the Samnites cherish these doctrines as long as they are at war with us (quoted in Strauss 1965, 342). Viewed from what according to Schmitt is the political perspective par excellence, Strauss argues, human dangerousness is seen to point beyond itself. Simply affirming it thus proves to be insufficient to explain the political. One is almost reminded of Platos Laws, where the Athenian Stranger, in a discussion with the Spartan Clinias, a Hobbesian avant la lettre, argues that peace, not war, is the highest good for the city (Plato 1967, 624c626b, 628a-e). Although Strauss does not name the source of this story Plutarchs Life of Pyrrhusit is worthwhile (as it always is) to take a closer look. In fact, Plutarch not only explicitly identifies the philosophic teaching as Epicurean, but he also spells out both its political and its theological implications. As he explains in the same passage, and as Strauss doubtless knew, the Epicureans would have nothing to do with civil government on the ground that it was injurious and the ruin of felicity, andthey removed the divine as far as possible from feelings of kindness or anger or concern for us, into a life that knew no care and was filled with ease and comfort (Plutarch 1968, XX.3). In the context of Strausss debate with Schmitt, this remark is not without significance. For the Epicurean position, as it is described by Plutarch, is squarely at odds with the political theology that Strauss discreetly brings to

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light underneath Schmitts position. It denies both the importance of politics and of special divine providence for human life, two crucial tenets of the Schmittian teaching (Meier 1995, 1998). Moreover, a reader of Spinozas Critique of Religion like Schmitt (see Strauss 2001, 683) is likely have been aware of the influence of Epicureanisms apolitical hedonism and anti-theism on early modern political thinkers such as Spinoza and Hobbes, which Strauss traces with great care (Strauss 1965, 37-52; 1953, 169). Needless to say, this connection deals an additional blow to the alliance with Hobbes that is claimed by Schmitt. The most interesting and most important sign of Strausss classical perspective, however, appears after he has brought to light the moral basis of Schmitts affirmation of the political. Concurring with Schmitts censure of liberalisms neutralization and depoliticization, especially of its effort to reach agreement and peace at any price (Strauss 1965, 347), Strauss offers the reader a glimpse of the philosophical basis of his assent. At the same time, he points to what fundamentally distinguishes that basis from Schmitts:
Yet agreement can always be reached in principle about the means to an already established end, whereas the ends are always controversial: we disagree with one another and ourselves always only about the just and the good (Plato, Euthyphro 7b-d and Phaedrus 263a). If therefore one wishes agreement at any price, there is no other way than to abandon altogether the question of what is right and to limit ones concern exclusively to the means. (Strauss 1965, 347)

In this passage, Strauss tacitly shifts from the political and the moral to the question of what is right. Raising this question, he asserts in a voice now unmistakably his own, is what constitutes mans humanity, and it is in the seriousness of this question that the political finds its ultimate justification (the original German text has Rechtsgrund or legal ground, an expression with particular resonance for an eminent legal scholar like Schmitt). This time, he is entirely candid about the classical lineage of his assertion: he adds a telling reference to two Platonic dialogues. In this way, he directs the readers attention to what turns out to be the focal point of his critical reading of Schmitt: the Socratic question regarding the right way of life. From the outset, the Socratic question is the key in which Strauss understands Schmitts guiding intention. As he remarks at the beginning of the third section of the Comments, Schmitt sets out to do no more than to ascertain what is (Strauss 1965, 339; emphasis in the original), as if

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The Concept of the Political were a Socratic inquiry. Similarly, further on in the same section he points out that the ultimate aim of Schmitts affirmation of the state of nature is not bellicistic: rather, it is an attempt to gain pure, unpolluted knowledge [integres Wissen] by returning to undefiled, incorrupt nature, so that the order of human things may arise again (quoted in Strauss 1965, 348). Viewed in this manner, Schmitts undertaking approximates the physiological endeavour of classical philosophy. However, once again this rapprochement brings to light the profound differences between Schmitts position and the Socratic position. To begin with, Strauss goes on to criticize the historicism underlying Schmitts position, by exposing the inconsistency between, on the one hand, his quest for pure knowledge and nature and, on the other, his claim that all political concepts are polemical, i.e., historical. Here again, Strausss assertion is at the same time emblematic for his own outlook:
For pure, unpolluted knowledge is never, except accidentally, polemical; and pure unpolluted knowledge cannot be gained from the concrete political existence, from the situation of the age, but only through a return to the origin, to undefiled, not corrupt nature. (Strauss 1965, 351)

Moreover, Strausss critical analysis suggests that Schmitt considers himself to be already in possession of a certain pure, unpolluted knowledge, and thus to already have fathomed what is (consider Strausss ironic allusion to the decisive battle between secularism and the opposite spirit and faith, which, it seems, does not yet have a name, in Strauss 1965, 351). As Heinrich Meier convincingly argues, Schmitts historicism is ultimately based on a definite answer to the question of what is right: a political theology based on divine revelation (Meier 1995, 83). Like the Spartan Clinias in Platos Laws, Schmitt champions a law that claims to be the discovery of what is on the grounds of its divine origin (Plato 1967, 625c-626b; Benardete 2000, 9-10). Against this claim, Strauss is able to take up the Socratic rejoinder that law only wishes to be the discovery of what is (Plato 1979, 319c-320b). The experience of the plurality of contradictory laws that lies at the basis of this observation is also the experience that sparks the Socratic query. Hence, one cannot but concur with this lapidary but fundamental observation about the Comments: the question of Socrates was from the very beginning, the decisive, fundamental question for Strauss (Meier 1995, 86). In this respect, the Virgilian maxim that underlies The Concept of the Political may also allow us to gauge the difference between

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Schmitt and Strauss. Ab integro nascitur ordo (Virgil 1978, IV.5; see Meier 1998, 256 n. 136): for Schmitt, the integrum has been revealed, so that the rebirth of the ordo is primarily a practical matter, the object of religious hope and expectation. For Strauss, on the other hand, both the integrum and the ordo are and remain the object of a rigorous theoretical pursuit. III Let us now return to the two remaining questions raised at the beginning. To begin with, in what respect can the Comments be said to be the first expression of Strausss change of orientation? As the statement itself already suggests, this change had occurred previously. With the recent publication of Strausss early writings, we are able to trace it with some degree of precision. Shortly before he published the Comments, Strauss prepared a series of lectures in which he reported with astonishing clarity and awareness a breakthrough in his thinking. In retrospect, the key elements of this turn are more or less familiar: the notion of a second cave beneath the Platonic cave, the possibility of overcoming historical consciousness and of a genuine return to pre-modern philosophy, and the recovery of Platonic philosophy, guided by the Socratic question regarding the right way of life, as a viable alternative to both modern philosophy and the orthodoxy of revealed religion (see Strauss 1997, 377-91, 393-436, 441-64; at 425, Strauss first reports his groundbreaking discovery of Avicennas remark to the extent that the treatment of prophecy and the divine law can be found in Platos Laws). If anything, these writings show that Strauss had begun to gain the horizon beyond liberalism he had sought for. From this perspective, the Comments on Schmitt can indeed be read as the first published writing bearing witness of this breakthrough. Beneath the surface of Strausss reticence in his debate with Schmitt, one can already perceive the steady glow of the Socratic question. It will remain dimly visible in his subsequent book on Hobbes (Strauss 1936), only to grow stronger in his later works. This, however, leaves us with the remaining question: why does Strauss write that the Comments expressed his change of orientation not entirely by accident? In other words, why did he choose a debate with Schmitt as the occasion to communicate it? On this point, the early writings may provide at least the beginning of an answer. At the moment of his philosophical breakthrough, Strauss was taking leave, not only of the political Zionism to which he had been strongly committed since his youth, but also of political activism and modern

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politics as such. Partly as a result of his study of Spinozas Theological-Political Treatise, he had come to question the principles and ambitions of the political project of the Enlightenment, especially its claim to offer a final solution to the theological-political problem. Although he announced this departure only in Philosophy and Law of 1935, it is safe to say that he had already begun to move away from political Zionism for some time. Only thirty years later, in the autobiographical preface to Spinozas Critique of Religion, would he provide an account for his departure, which culminates in the almost Platonic observation: Finite, relative problems can be solved; infinite, absolute problems cannot be solved. In other words, human beings will never create a society which is free of contradictions (Strauss 1965, 6). More importantly, with the recovery of the Socratic question and the Platonic horizon, it seems that Strauss discovered a way of life that was more fulfilling than the political life. In one of the early lectures mentioned above, he notes that Socrates gives an answer to the question regarding the right way of life: raising the question regarding the right way of lifethis alone is the right way of life (Strauss 1997, 412). As he would subsequently learn to appreciate from Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle, the philosophical life is superior to the political life, insofar as its quest for genuine knowledge necessarily transcends the realm of opinion that is politics. What is more, the early lectures indicate that the superiority of the philosophic life finds its counterpart in a covert but nonetheless trenchant critique of the political life (Strauss 1997, 411). From Strausss correspondence with a number of distinguished contemporaries, we learn that, in the process of discovering the art of writing of the ancient philosophers, he became increasingly aware of the subversive and irreverent irony that pervades their depiction of the kaloikagathoi, the gentlemen and political luminaries of their age (see the correspondence with Jacob Klein in Strauss 2001, 544-87, 597). The philosophical interest in and respect for politics, it seems, ultimately served the goal of achieving greater self-knowledge. Possibly, this hierarchy is already adumbrated in the subtle phrasing of Strausss response to Schmitt, that by the seriousness of the question of what is right, the political is justified (Strauss 1965, 348; emphasis added). This, then, may help to explain why Strauss chose to divulge his change of orientation in a commentary on The Concept of the Political. In Schmitt, Strauss found a powerful defender of the two challenging alternatives to the philosophic life he was trying to recover: politics and revealed religion (Meier 2003). The Comments allowed him to critically gauge their strength,

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as well as his own, while availing himself of the specific immunity of the commentator (Strauss 1952, 14) after the manner of the Islamic and Jewish medieval philosophers who had given him access to Plato. It is, I believe, characteristic of the recent European reception of Strausss work that it has tended to focus more explicitly and persistently on this trans-political element in Strausss thought than the general American scholarship has done. Thus, a recent German volume even goes so far as to defend the thesis that Strauss develops a paradoxical form of political philosophising, to wit a political thinking that is unpolitical at its core (Bluhm 2002, 22, translation by the present author). Similar, though certainly not univocal interpretations have been offered by a number of other non-American scholars (Tanguay 2003; Kauffmann 1997, 2000; Jaffro, Frydman, Cattin and Petit 2001; Meier 2003). Very recently, this European approach has been brought to the attention of the American audience (Lilla 2004), at a moment when Strauss scholarship was on the defense. It is to be hoped that this occasion will contribute to regenerating and fostering a genuine dialogue within and between the two continents, both of which were once a home to Leo Strauss. After all, his legacy can only benefit and flourish by being read and reread by open minds on both sides of the Atlantic.

REFERENCES Aristotle. 1977. Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Benardete, Seth. 2000. Platos Laws: The Discovery of Being. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Behnegar, Nasser. 1995. The Liberal Politics of Leo Strauss. In Political Philosophy and the Human Soul: Essays in Memory of Allan Bloom, edited by M. Palmer and T. L. Pangle. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Berkowitz, Peter. 1994. Liberal Zealotry. Yale Law Journal 103 (March): 1363-82. Bluhm, Harald. 2002. Die Ordnung der Ordnung. Das politische Philosophieren von Leo Strauss. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Cicero. 1971. Tusculan Disputations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hobbes, Thomas. 1994. Leviathan. London: Dent. Holmes, Stephen. 1993. The Anatomy of Antiliberalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Howse, Robert. 1998. From Legitimacy To DictatorshipAnd Back Again. In Law As Politics: Carl Schmitts Critique of Liberalism, edited by D. Dyzenhaus. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Jaffro, Laurent, Benot Frydman, Emmanuel Cattin, and Alain Petit, eds. 2001. Leo Strauss: art dcrire, politique, philosophie. Paris: Vrin. Kauffmann, Clemens. 1997. Leo Strauss zur Einfhrung. Hamburg: Junius Verlag. . 2000. Strauss und Rawls. Das Philosophische Dilemma der Politik. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Lilla, Mark. 2004. Leo Strauss: The European. The New York Review of Books, Vol. 51, No. 16: 58-60. Meier, Heinrich. 1995. Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. . 1998. The Lesson of Carl Schmitt: Four Chapters on the Distinction between Political Theology and Political Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. . 2003. Das theologisch-politische Problem. Zum Thema von Leo Strauss. Stuttgart: Metzler. Plato. 1967. Laws. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. . 1979. Minos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Plutarch. 1968. Life of Pyrrhus. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Strauss, Leo. 1936. The Political Philosophy of Hobbes. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. . 1952. Persecution and the Art of Writing. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. . 1953. Natural Right and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. . 1959. What Is Political Philosophy? Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. . 1965. Spinozas Critique of Religion. New York: Schocken Books. . 1983. Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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. 1997. Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 2. Stuttgart: Metzler. . 1999. German Nihilism. Interpretation, Vol. 26 (No. 3): 353-78. . 2001. Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 3. Stuttgart: Metzler. Tanguay, Daniel. 2003. Leo Strauss: une biographie intellectuelle. Paris: Grasset. Virgil. 1978. Eclogues. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Book Review: Leo Strauss and His Legacy: A Bibliography

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John A. Murley, ed., Leo Strauss and His Legacy: A Bibliography. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005, 952 pp., $95 paperback.

DAV I D L E W I S S C H A E F E R HOLY CROSS COLLEGE dschaefe@holycross.edu

This useful but deeply flawed book provides a list of the writings of Leo Strauss and those of the several generations of scholars who have indicated that their way has been illuminated, directly or indirectly, by the light he has cast. Although the cover describes the book as including entries from as recent as 2005, the list of publications for most authors (understandably, given production time) seem to end at 2002 or 2003. The broad range of their writings confirms that if these scholars hold anything in common, it is a serious interest in politics in the widest sense. Unfortunately, this volume suffers from several limitations. First of all, the editors principle of selection is not consistent, potentially leading those not well familiar with Strausss work to misunderstand the nature of his legacy. It is not at all evident why scholars as diverse as Nannerl Keohane and Claes Ryn, neither of whose writings has (to my knowledge) any evident connection with Strauss, are included here. The widely published Theodore Lowi, no Straussian he (albeit a friend to several of them) is also an odd entryespecially since he is credited with only a single article. It appears that Murley sometimes included an author if he reviewed a book by a Straussianand then went on, in certain cases, to add one or more other publications by the reviewer. As a consequence, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., of all people, makes a single appearancebecause he reviewed a book edited by Robert Eden. And the New York Times editorialist Brent Staples is includedon account of his ill-informed tirade denouncing The Sinister Vogue of Leo Strauss! Another oddity in the principle of selection is that the editor included many essays and reviews merely because they were published either
2006 Interpretation, Inc.

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in the present journal or in The Political Science Reviewer, journals that exhibit the influence of Leo Strauss. (So far as I can tell, he seems to have listed the entire contents of both journals.) Of course a high percentage of the articles published in Interpretation, but by no means all of them, were written by Straussians. And Straussians cannot have published as many as half the articles in The Political Science Reviewer. To take the most curious result of simply incorporating articles from those journals into this bibliography, the British mystery novelist Dorothy Sayerss essay Aristotle and Detective Fiction, reprinted in Interpretation in 1995, is listed. Doubtless, Sayerss article made some points of interest to students of political philosophy, including Straussians. But she can hardly be said to belong among those influenced by Strauss. Even less fitting is the inclusion of two essays by that conservative ideologue, Russell Kirk, from the Reviewer. And I can assure readers that my onetime colleague Lloyd Jensens essay on Quantitative International Politics from that same journal had about as little to do with political philosophy, let alone Strauss, as one could imagine. Altogether, this volume must include at least several dozen authors whose writings have nothing to do with Strausss legacy. The most obvious weakness of this volume, however, is that it simply was not proofread sufficiently. In his preface (x), the editor asks his readers forbearance in this regard, citing Cotton Mathers observation of the impossibility of producing a book without an error. Given advances in printing technology since Mathers time, I doubt that his remark holds true today. But with regret, I must remark that the frequency of errors of spelling, punctuation, and substance in this volume surpasses that in any published book I can recall encountering. It would be pointless to list the technical errors I came across in a cursory survey of this book. (I will convey them to the editor, as he requests that readers do.) But I do wish to point out that Lorraine Smith Pangles fine book Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship should have been credited to her rather than to her husband Thomas (519)especially since he has a long list of distinguished publications that are truly his own. Similarly, I shall observe that since my wife Roberta and I jointly edited Sir Henry Taylors The Statesman and The Future of Cities, these books should not have also been attributed to the co-editorship of Robert Martin Schaefer (602). Finally, I must note that the list of my publications is at least four items too long, since I found four publications that were listed twice. The reviewer is compelled to suspect that the editors reliance on techniques of database management (xi) led him to

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put insufficient time into old-fashioned, hands-on proofreading. (Perhaps a reference to Martin Heideggers The Question Concerning Technology would be apropos here.) Readers of Interpretation, and other scholars of political philosophy and American political thought, will find this volume a handy reference work. But all readers should be encouraged to forward the errata they locate to the editor, in the hope that a new and vastly improved edition can be published soon. And Strauss himself should be absolved of any responsibility for many of the publications listed in it.

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