Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Liberal Studies


English and Linguistics

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Tweedy, Danny

Second Advisor

Mathews, Mary Beth

Major or Concentration

English (Creative Writing Concentration)


Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, QAnon, and Blood Libel explores the contemporary relevance of the work of Shakespeare. The Jewish blood libel was first mentioned by Socrates. Whether Socrates was literal or using an allegory is unknown. What is known, is the story was repeated and used as the basis for a conspiracy theory targeting Jews stating they kill Christian Children to make unleavened Passover bread. This idea has resulted in stereotypes and Jews being the scapegoats for all the ills of the world. William Shakespeare played on this idea in The Merchant of Venice, using a blood libel to commit legalized murder. During WWII the Nazi’s staged the play more than 30 times as inspirational propaganda prior to rounding up large numbers of Jews. Today QAnon has targeted high profile Jews with a variation of the blood libel that has evolved in child sex trafficking, harvesting adenochrome, and a chemical fountain of youth thus showing the ideas of Shakespeare are still relevant today.