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Shakespeare did not usually invent the incidents in his plays, but borrowed them from old stories, ballads, and plays, wove them together, and then breathed into them his spark of life.
Rather than from a first-hand study of Jewish people, his delineation of Shylock stems from a collection of Italian stories, Il Pecorone, published in 1558, although written almost two centuries earlier.
He could learn at second hand from books, but could not thus capture the real Jewish spirit.
Harris J. Griston, in Shaking The Dust From Shakespeare ( 216 ), writes: `` There is not a word spoken by Shylock which one would expect from a real Jew ''.

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