The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library Series)

The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library Series)

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by William Shakespeare
     
 

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In The Merchant of Venice, the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or chests. If he fails, he may never marry at all.

Bassanio and Portia also face a magnificent villain, the moneylender Shylock. In creating Shylock, Shakespeare seems to have

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Overview

In The Merchant of Venice, the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or chests. If he fails, he may never marry at all.

Bassanio and Portia also face a magnificent villain, the moneylender Shylock. In creating Shylock, Shakespeare seems to have shared in a widespread prejudice against Jews. Shylock would have been regarded as a villain because he was a Jew. Yet he gives such powerful expression to his alienation due to the hatred around him that, in many productions, he emerges as the hero.

Portia is most remembered for her disguise as a lawyer, Balthazar, especially the speech in which she urges Shylock to show mercy that “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”

The authoritative edition of The Merchant of Venice from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

-Newly revised explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

-Scene-by-scene plot summaries

-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases

-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language

-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books

-An up-to-date annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Alexander Leggatt

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671722777
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
08/01/1992
Series:
Folger Shakespeare Library Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.74(h) x 0.78(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.

Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.

Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.

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The Merchant of Venice (Campfire Graphic Novel) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 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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