International Journal of English Language Teaching (IJELT)

EA Journals


Louise Althusser’ S Theory of Interpellation in the Merchant of Venice (Published)

The research is a qualitative textual analysis of Shakespeare’s tragedy, disguised as the comedy. The Merchant of Venice, through Louis Althusser’s theory of Interpellation. Althusser defines ideology as a system of representation through discourse and language which control our existence. So, this research paper aims to analyze the play’s language associated with the character’s power, identity, and ideology. Moreover, this research also highlights how the play The Merchant of Venice depicts the relationship between Christians and Jews and their unyielding disdain for each other’s cultures. In addition, it reflects Venetian’ society’s psyche through Shylock. Also, it gives an account of a society filled with capitalism and its anxieties, class stratification, religious extremism, hypocrisy, racism, homophobia, and human alienation. Althusser argues that self-consciousness is painted through “contrast differentiation,” and language is a way to create ideology and its fixation. Meanwhile, ideology is unable to function beyond language, which is called Interpellation. Althusser also substantiates that individual and collective human behaviors rise through the underlying structures of society as reflected through Christian’s ingrained prejudices against Jews and Jew’s behavior by absurd stereotypes. Althusser also addresses that material actions are incorporated through quantifiable practices governed by material ideological apparatus. Further, he elaborates that an individual has no intrinsic signification; instead, he is merely a subject in social divisions designated by hierarchical ideology, as Shylock is treated as “other” under the preeminent doctrine of Christianity. Furthermore, he sheds light on the hegemony of powerful discourse through which superiors keep subservient to the level of conformity and dehumanization. Thus, by depicting the ideology of societal conditioning and reinforcement, capitalism, colonialism, racism, anti-Semitism, and patriarchy, this paper delves deep into Althusser’s “Repressive or Ideological State Apparatuses and its functions both by violence and ideology highlighted in The Merchant of Venice.

Keywords: Racism, anti- semitism, ideological state apparatuses, ingrained mentality, interpellation, repressive, the merchant of Venice

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