Oberon's Jewish Pedigree

The figure of the great fairy king in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is descended from Judah Maccabee.

One of William Blake’s illustrations to The Song of Los; scholars have traditionally identified the figures shown as Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wikipedia.

One of William Blake’s illustrations to The Song of Los; scholars have traditionally identified the figures shown as Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wikipedia.

Observation
Dec. 26 2019
About the author

Michael Weingrad is professor of Jewish studies at Portland State University and a frequent contributor to Mosaic and the Jewish Review of Books. 


To speak of Shakespeare’s Jewish characters is to conjure up The Merchant of Venice and his anti-Semitic creation of the Jew Shylock. But another of his characters bears a more impressive Jewish pedigree. That character is Oberon, the king of the fairies, best known to us from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (“Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania”). And the best time to invoke Oberon’s name is on the festival of Hanukkah.

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More about: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Literature, Shakespeare