Jessica's Letter to Shylock

Essay by Doodlipop May 2005

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June the 14th, Venice

Dear Father,

When you receive this letter, I shall be gone. All you shall have left of me are mere words written upon a page and a memory. I hope it is a fond memory, despite what I have done. And although I very much doubt it, I hope and pray you may understand the reasons that led me to take such drastic measures. I hope and pray that somehow you may forgive me.

Father, I understand that you tried to raise me as best you could when my mother sadly departed this world. But the truth is that no can ever take my mother's place. And despite your best efforts, you and I are simply not alike. Sometimes I admit I am ashamed to be your daughter, if for no other reason than how you act and what you say. It has come to a point where living in this very house is torture to me.

It is foolish to pretend we are happy living together as father and daughter, for we are anything but happy. We are different people who merely lead live similar lives. It is something which I have been content with until now. However, circumstances have changed.

I cannot continue to lead your life any longer, father. I must lead my own. And my own heart and soul now belong to the Christian Lorenzo. I know you must feel outraged at this, and I know also that you would never accept a union of any kind between your daughter and a Christian.

But have you ever asked yourself why, father? Why do you hate Christians? Is it because they despise you and your faith? If such is the case, I see no difference between the atrocities Christians commit against Jewish people and what your own hatred leads you to do. That being said, I do not hope to convince you that not all Christians are to be hated. I know that your own stubborn mind will never agree with me, and I know that there is no other way for me to be with Lorenzo.

I have left because I want to become a Christian and marry the gentleman I love. I have left because I have decided that coexisting with my father is unbearable. I have left because I had no other choice. I take some ducats with me merely to ensure my own survival. I take my mother's ring to remind me of her, but I promise you I shall never let it out of my sight. My mother will always be with me. And, if you wish me good fortune and a happy marriage in your prayers at night, then you shall be with me too. I will listen for your prayers. Forgive me.

All my love,