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2016 | 50 | 186-196
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Class Oppression and Commodification in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Merchant of Venice

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Karl Heinrich Marx tended to focus on considering how class struggle, oppressive ideologies, and social inequality are portrayed in literary texts throughout history in order to find a definite structural cause behind the modern exploitative capitalist system. One of these historical literary texts that attracted Marx’s attention was William Shakespeare’s to which he referred a lot. This paper intends to analyze Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Merchant of Venice in the light of Marxism to expose the upper classes’ oppressive behavior, their unethical victimization, exploitation, and commodification of the lower classes. Consequently, through a Marxist reading of Shakespeare’s plays, one can perceive that there are vivid links between Marxist and Shakespearean thinking, especially the similarities of thought held by each on the subjects of class oppression and commodification. Shakespeare portrayed the bitter social facts which Marxist thought tends to agree with.
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  • Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Human Sciences, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
  • Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Human Sciences, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
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