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Shapiro explains that the English wanted to convert Jews at key port cities and thus “win the Jews, and trade, for England” (150).
If religious tensions existed between the Jews and Christians, trade with the Jews would be much harder. To understand another reason why Jewish conversion was becoming a popular concern at the time, the religious situation in England must be examined.
Much of the first stanza is imagery used to exaggerate the time the couple would need together to love properly.
He then moves on to say that in reality they don’t have much time, so they need to hurry.
According to Shapiro, the idea of converting the Jews became popular in England in the late sixteenth century (134).
Up until this point, there had been so much religious strife that the Christians didn’t have time to focus on converting Jews.
The speaker is trying to persuade a woman to have sex with him.
Wilensky adds that the Jews remaining in England were mostly Marrano Jews from Portugal (398).
The few Jews that remained were not looked upon favorably.
According to Danson, the primary occupation of Jews was still money lending (147).
In “Shakespeare’s Shylock, Rushdie’s Abraham Zogoiby, and the Jewish Pepper Merchants of Precolonial India,” Bindu Malieckal adds that some worked as “translators for government officials and powerful merchants and therefore possessed a certain amount of political and commercial clout” (154).