Rothschild Fiddle Jewish Controversy

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Rothschild’s Fiddle

Anti-Semitic Views in Russia Culture and Liturature

The setting of “Rothschild’s Fiddle” is in a small poverse village where two key characters Yakov Ivanov, a Russian coffin maker, and Rothschild, an equally poor Jewish musician live. Yakov lives in a one-room hut, which contains all the furnishings as well as his coffins. Yakov barely notices his wife of fifty years, Martha. Yakov has something interesting about himself that is unexpected; he is a gifted violinist. He played in a local orchestral group that plays for weddings. Yakov appears cynical towards the conductor by describing how he would always take half the earnings for himself after performances. The coffin maker needs the occasional money, he dislikes Jewish musicians in general; especially the flutist Rothschild, who turns even the smallest song into a masterpiece. Yakov abuses Rothschild and at one point almost physically hits him. Because of this Yakov is no longer allowed to play with the orchestra except on rare occasions when he is “desperately” needed.

After this point Rothschild becomes very unhappy even more so than usual. You also start to notice that on top of his egocentrical nature he is very selfish. All he begins to notice is loss in money he has taken and is so engrossed in this dilemma that when his wife tells him she is about to die he begins contemplate it even after her death. He began to measure her for her coffin before she even died, and made the log in his book “For 1 coffin for Martha Ivanov—2 rubles, 40 kopeks.” Yakov began to remember that he had never said one kind word to her throughout the 50 years of marriage. You can see at this point how the main character, Yakov, approached death only to make the realization that he had wasted his life. This has been noted by many people in many different tragedies, illnesses. However, despite the ability of humans to learn from the experiences of others, this insight is not one that...
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