The Merchant of Venice Introduction
Read the full text ofThe merchant of Venicewith a side-by-side translationON HERE.
Do you knowGrande Willy Shakespeare,The guy who wrote in three modes: comedy, tragedy and history?
Well he also wroteThe merchant of Venice, a work that is none of those things. is also a typeallprevious one.
If it's a comedyis a dark and deeply moving comedy.If it's a tragedy, it's still a very happy one for most of the characters. And if it's a story... well, it's one of the best known and most loved.
Officially,The merchant of Veniceis a comedy A comedy about an embittered and hated Jewish moneylender (Shylock) who seeks revenge on a Christian merchant who defaulted on a loan.Block! This is a real slap on the knees!
distributorThe controversial issue gained a reputation as a "trouble game".(You think?)which, 400 years after its first production, still raises a number of difficult questions:
- Does the play support the anti-Semitic attitude of its Christian characters?
- Do you criticize the prejudices you portray on stage?
- Or does it just dramatize bigotry without taking a stand one way or the other?
Before delving into these issues, it is important to know some historical background.Buckle up. It's going to be a rowdy history lesson.
It would have been absolutely bizarre for Shakespeare to write for an English audience about a Jewish moneylender. it is becausewere aboutNullJewsin 16th century England... because they were expelled in the 1290sedict of expulsion🇧🇷 The remaining Jews had to practice their religion in secret.
However, Jews were a popular target of hatred in Shakespeare's England, largely due to the judgment of Queen Elizabeth's personal physician, Rodrigo López, a Portuguese Jewish convert. In 1594, López was found guilty of the murder of Queen Elizabeth I.
Shakespeare, with his pulse on popular interest, is presentedThe merchant of Venicec.1597, immediately after Lopez's trial. The interesting thing about Shylock, Shakespeare's Jewish merchant, is that, depending on how you read the story, it goes like this.nota caricature of all things bad.
Shylock has many flaws, but he is also complex and deeply human. When he famously asks the question, "If you stab us [Jews], don't we bleed?" (3.1.63-64), he insists that Jews and Christians share a common humanity, even though he has been spat on, kicked and criticized for being different.
Are you already laughing out loud at this comedy?how do you feel?it couldbe a tragedy? And given the amount of (incredibly fanatical and shameful) history that needs to be covered for you to understand the gistThe merchant of Venice, maybe we should call this story bad boy?
The point is: this piece defies characterization. We like to think that maybe, just maybe, Shakespeare is telling us he's acting...and the people, dagnabbit– cannot be characterized by just a few elements (such as religion or gender).
What is The Merchant of Venice about and why should I care?
Let's say you make a deal with your little brother in kindergarten.If the Tampa Bay Rays ever won the World Series,he had to put his finger in a light bulb socket. He's fine with the deal because hey, the Tampa Bay Raysneverwin the World Series. And you agree with the potentially devastating results, as he recently put glue in your macaroni and cheese.
So someone in FloridaSell your soul to the deviland before you know it, your little brother is facing a pretty busy take. He insists that you let him go because it's the most merciful thing to do, but you reply that you both had an agreement... and you want to.Justice.
Interesting word, justice. What does that mean exactly? justice under the law? What if there was a law that said, for example, that white men could have black men? Or that a man would beat a woman, who, incidentally, could not vote. Since these laws actually existed throughout US history, does that mean they were fair?
Okay, not so much. "Justice" clearly involves more than the law. Maybe it's the religion? Are we talking about divine law? Thereanever leads to bad things(humthe Crusadeshum).
So obviously something else is going on in our minds when we think of justice, something like ethics or morality. But what to do when the justice of the law is not the same as the justice of religion, which is not the same as the justice of morals or human decency?
The point is that "fairness" is not a word you can use like "glue" or "composition". And yet "justice" was servedoneOnlyify a series of actions- how to cut a pound of meat off a man's chest.Is this Tarantino's new Gorefest movie?
Is notThe merchant of Venice🇧🇷 A work that makes you squirm with discomfort even when it's time to laugh, laugh even when it's time to cry and contemplate people's evil even when you feel it.a little bitWarm and cozy on the inside, if you do the right thing, you'll root yourself in one of the fiercest heroines in all of drama... and since this is Shakespeare, you'll marvel at the acrobatic language, wit and poetry. of this damned masterwork. 🇧🇷
Merchant of Venice Resources
film or television productions
The merchant of Venice(2004)
A film adaptation starring Al Pacino as Shylock. This film stands out for its sympathetic portrayal of Shylock.
The Maori Merchant of Venice(2002)
A modern twist on New Zealand's 2002 artwork.
"To you, António, / I owe you the most, in money and in love"
Click the "Video" link on this page to watch Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) convince his best friend (played by Jeremy Irons) to give him the money he needs to buy Portia in the 2004 movie to court.
"Jeremy Irons Confronts the Trader Bard"
Oscar winner Jeremy Irons talks about it in this NPR interviewThe merchant of Veniceand his role as Antonio.
leave a commentThe merchant of Venice
Here's a fascinating and insightful look at the different types of roleplaying.The merchant of VeniceEspecially when it comes to anti-Semitism. The occasion is a production that seeks Jewish charactersThe Merchant of Venice, the Jew of Malta, jOliver Twist🇧🇷 Commentators of the work raise questions about the possible interpretationsThe merchant of Venicesuch as anti-Semitic or compassionate work. There are also some interesting comments about the historical context of the play and the play in production.
Some different images of Shylock, in paintings and photographs, starring actors like Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and even Jacob Adler in a 1903 production.
The merchant of Venicein art
A mid-19th-century watercolor called Frederick HoldingMerchant of Venice: IV, 1. The Judgment Scene.
2004 movie review
A wonderful review of Michael Radford's film version, starring Al Pacino as ShylockHarvard Divinity Bulletin🇧🇷 Author Kevin Madigan explores the production history ofThe merchant of Veniceand provides insightful historical detail to understand the work's production and reception in all eras and cultures. A quick, easy and thought-provoking read.
ONENew York TimesTheater review of Gareth Armstrong's 2005 productionusurer🇧🇷 It has a long analysis of the work, mainly in relation to other interpretations of the character. An interesting perspective for anyone interested in role-playingThe merchant of Venice.
Here's a special look at Lancelot, the play's clown, who is often simply removed from productions as an irrelevant play.
The merchant of VeniceOnline Text
A full text version ofThe merchant of VeniceOpen source Shakespeare. This is great for artists as they can see full or cut lines, reference lines and lines by actor.
An accessible and insightful look at the background ofThe merchant of Venicefrom PBS. Shakespearean actor Jami Rogers provides a contextual story examining the history of Jews in early Elizabethan England, followed by compelling analysis.
Shakespeare editions online:The merchant of Venice
A rich site on the Internet Editions of Shakespeare, with beautiful facsimiles ofThe merchant of Venicein the folios. There are links to a list of theater performances, some rehearsals, and some wonderful insights into the play in production and context. As usual, pay close attention to the Lives and Times section for game-specific content packed with great information.
Shakespeare and the Jews
You can read much of literary scholar James Shapiro's historical book online, courtesy of Google Books.