The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

1605

. Antonio, an antisemitic merchant, takes a loan from the Jew Shylock to help his friend to court Portia. Antonio can't repay the loan, and without mercy, Shylock demands a pound of his flesh. The heiress Portia, now the wife of Antonio's fri...

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Shakespearean comedy

288 Pages
4.4

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. Antonio, an antisemitic merchant, takes a loan from the Jew Shylock to help his friend to court Portia. Antonio can't repay the loan, and without mercy, Shylock demands a pound of his flesh. The heiress Portia, now the wife of Antonio's friend, dresses as a lawyer and saves Antonio.

The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio defaults on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599.

 

Although classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and it is best known for Shylock and his famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech on humanity. Also notable is Portia's speech about "the quality of mercy". Critic Harold Bloom listed it among Shakespeare's great comedies

The Merchant of Venice Summary. Antonio, an antisemitic merchant, takes a loan from the Jew Shylock to help his friend to court Portia. Antonio can't repay the loan, and without mercy, Shylock demands a pound of his flesh. The heiress Portia, now the wife of Antonio's friend, dresses as a lawyer and saves Antonio.

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616)was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard").His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays,

 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

 

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

 

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language, In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works .

that included all but two of his plays.The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time".

 

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain popular and are studied, performed, and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world.

 

Review:

theguardian.com

 

The Merchant of Venice, another one of the books I had to endure while doing my English Literature GCSE. I was already tired of Shakespeare, after having to do Much Ado About Nothing for Year 9 Sats. Of course the word "endure" makes it sound like it was a painful experience. I guess when being forced to read it and make notes on it, instead of just reading it and being able to interpret it in my mind was somewhat tough and annoying. Now though, I can look at the book and appreciate it for what it really is.

 

Racism, love, secrets and loans. The play strikes true to certain parts of the modern world as well as the time it was set and written. It is compelling that Shakespeare was able to write about such things in a way that fitted into the comical manner of the era. To a modern reader, it isn't so much comical but instead a tragedy and something that shows all the things that are wrong with the world.

 

Racism is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated at all. However, in the book it shows how those that face prejudice just let it happen and don't even try to stop or overcome it. At the start of the book it reads as if Shakespeare is also one of those racists by making Shylock look like the baddie. He appears somewhat like the modern banker. Willing to give money to anybody whether its against their policy or not and wanting it back at the exact time agreed or there are huge consequences. Shylock takes the chance to get the people that have constantly abused him back, but instead they are able to turn it against him because of the society they live in. While we acknowledge this is wrong as an onlooker, we forget to be grateful that our society is just a little better than presented. How much better it is, is somewhat questionable. There are those rogue bankers not caring about circumstance or rules because of their lack of compassion. There are still racists and people that let it carry on without caring. However, society is more balanced and accepting in general. Luckily.

 

The reason of the money borrowing pulls on the heartstrings somewhat. The money is wanted so that a guy can go see a girl to try and sway her heart. Of course, it isn't because he loves her but because he loves her money. At this point I'm starting to see a capitalist trend. Putting money before love and the feelings for people and trying to achieve a higher social status seems to be something done often in the society presented. Something I still see people doing around me right now, because they care more about physical objects than any sign of affection. So really, it pulls on the purse strings and to somebody that has more self-respect than to be a capitalist it makes them feel rather sick that all this pain, false actions of affection and putting aside the racism for five minutes just to get what is wanted come from the desire for money and gold.

 

While it is meant to be all about morals and explaining that trying to get at somebody is not a good thing to do because everybody ends up with tarnished reputations and opinions. When looking at it from an economic stance, however, it seems to be much more just a breeding ground for uncaring capitalists leading to the somewhat sad modern world.

 

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