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The merchant of Venice
     

The merchant of Venice

3.4 31
by William Shakespeare
 

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Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he needs 3,000 ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor. Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash-poor - his

Overview

Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he needs 3,000 ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor. Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash-poor - his ships and merchandise are busy at sea - he promises to cover a bond if Bassanio can find a lender, so Bassanio turns to the Jewish moneylender Shylock and names Antonio as the loan's guarantor.
Antonio has already antagonized Shylock through his outspoken antisemitism, and because Antonio's habit of lending money without interest forces Shylock to charge lower rates. Shylock is at first reluctant to grant the loan, citing abuse he has suffered at Antonio's hand. He finally agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: if Bassanio is unable to repay it at the specified date, Shylock may take a pound of Antonio's flesh. Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition; Antonio is surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity (no "usance" - interest - is asked for), and he signs the contract. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him. Gratiano is a likeable young man, but is often flippant, overly talkative, and tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control, and the two leave for Belmont and Portia.
Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Her father left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets - one each of gold, silver and lead. If he picks the right casket, he gets Portia. The first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia. The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Arragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit. Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath". The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before. As Bassanio ponders his choice, members of Portia's household sing a song which says that "fancy" (not true love) is "engend'red in the eyes, With gazing fed"; Bassanio chooses the lead casket and wins Portia's hand.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940017766958
Publisher:
New York, The A. S. Barnes company
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
189 KB

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Meet the Author

Widely esteemed as the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an actor and theatrical producer in addition to writing plays and sonnets. Dubbed "The Bard of Avon," Shakespeare oversaw the building of the Globe Theatre in London, where a number of his plays were staged, the best-known of which include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth. The First Folio, a printed book of 36 of his comedies, tragedies, and history plays, was published in 1623.

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The Merchant of Venice (Campfire Graphic Novel) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful play - and unless you have seen it or read it you don't know it at all. That's because everything the popular culture tells us about this play is false (for example; how many of you think this play is about a merchant named Shylock? ;-)

The Merchant of Venice is about a merchant named Antonio and his efforts to help his daughter Portia, find a suitable husband. A significant subplot involves a cruel, greedy Jew named Shylock. Some call this play anti-Semitic because of Shylock¿s character, it isn¿t. Making a bad guy Jewish is not anti-Semitic. The other Jew in the play is Shylock¿s daughter Jessica, and she is sweet, kind, and compassionate.

There is powerful verbal conflict between the Christian and Jewish world-views in which both sides get a fair hearing and get in their licks. This is almost unheard of today because the Christian side of this dialectic is considered politically incorrect.

The Merchant of Venice is a lively and happy morality tale. Good triumphs over bad - charity over greed - love over hate. There is fine comedy. Portia is one of Shakespeare's great women. There are moments of empathy and pain with all the major characters. There is great humanity and earthiness in this play. These things are what elevate Shakespeare over any other playwright in English history.

Plays should be seen - not read. I recommend you see this play (if you can find a theater with the courage and skill to do it). But if it is not playing in your area this season - buy the book and read

Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best plays I have read! The book features many different characters, which have many attributes that pertain to the main part of the story. The trial scene is an amazing one, with Shylock, the plantiff having the tables turned back onto himself. This is a remarkable book. Anyone who has read Shakespears books will certainly enjoy this one !!
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Georgia-Dee Jones-Baker More than 1 year ago
This book is impossible to read on my Nook. There are breaks between words with number and symbols.
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