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Todd Jensen writes...

This is another question I've been meaning to ask for some time, but finally got around to. You once mentioned your feelings about "The Merchant of Venice" and Shylock here, and particularly the reasons for your ambivalent response to the play. What Shylock prompts in me, in relation to "Gargoyles", is this question.

Do you think that there is a certain similarity, in the basics, between Demona and Shylock? I see one myself, since both come from oppressed minority groups, and both became sufficiently embittered by the persecution that they and their people underwent to seek revenge. (Of course, Demona's genocide schemes automatically dwarf Shylock's demand for a pound of Antonio's flesh). I'm curious about what your own thoughts are on this.

Greg responds...

It's a great connection. I won't pretend that it was a conscious choice on my part (though wouldn't it have been cool if it was).

But I absolutely agree with your basic analysis. You call me a monster often enough and at some point as Lex put it, you get a desire to "live up to the name".

None of which translates into genocide or pounds of flesh, unless you've got some serious internal problems anyway.

But none of that precludes having some qualities that border on the noble. And I think both Demona and Shylock, for all their faults and flat-out villainy, have noble aspects too.

I think that's what makes them so fascinating.

Suddenly, I'm dying to read Harold Bloom's take on Shylock.

Response recorded on February 03, 2000