Venit Vanit: A Thai Translation of the Merchant of Venice as a Force for Sustainable Peace and Social Justice


This paper is a study on Venit Vanit, a Thai translation of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. It attempts to deconstruct a tendency among Thai critics and theatre practitioners to regard Venit Vanit as a story about the 'greedy' Jew and the 'merciful' Christians. This paper argues that this reading is part of a political project to promote 'Thainess' which is hostile to minority groups. By emphasizing and exaggerating the evil of Shylock and the virtues of Christian characters, the translated play is used to construct a misleading image of 'the others' who are trouble makers and deserve to be discriminated and punished. In turn, this perception justifies discriminatory treatments and injustice that people from minority groups are facing in reality. The paper then demonstrates that it is possible to read Venit Vanit in another way and use the play to encourage sustainable peace and social justice for people from different backgrounds.

Author Information
Rachod Nusen, Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2018
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Humanities

This paper is part of the ACSS2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon