Premieres Friday, October 12 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Streams Saturday, October 13 at pbs.org/shakespeareuncovered and on PBS apps
Shakespeare probably never met a Jewish person. Three centuries before “The Merchant of Venice” was written, England became the first country in medieval Europe to expel its Jewish population. Abraham addresses the ubiquitous anti-Semitism that characterized Europe in Shakespeare’s time. Comparing Shylock to the stock Jewish villain of the day, the episode looks at the efforts over the years to interpret him as both villain and victim.