The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library)

The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library)

William Shakespeare

Language: English

Pages: 238

ISBN: 0743477561

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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

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lambs 60 streaked and pied ϭ striped and part-colored 61 be allotted/apportioned 62 wages, payment 63 in heat 64 procreation, propagation 65 propagators, procreators 66 in the act ϭ being performed/done 67 pilled me ϭ stripped, debarked (me: reflexive of no lexical significance) 68 sticks 69 deed of kind ϭ act of procreation , the natural act (“sex”) 70 in front of 71 (1) plump, fat, (2) lustful 27 act 1 • scene 3 Fall72 parti-colored lambs,73 and those were Jacob’s. This was a way

night 15 approach (reproach ϭ disgrace/shame/censure) (uneducated man’s error) 16 cooperated, planned 17 Black Monday ϭ Easter Monday 18 falling out ϭ coming on 19 Gobbo, a clown figure, is (1) making fun of astrological and other predictions, and (2) making no great sense 20 wry-necked fife ϭ bent/contorted neck of the flute player (facing at a right angle to his instrument) 21 climb 22 window frames 23 painted* 24 close up, plug 54 act 2 • scene 5 Let not the sound of shallow

Quarto: come; Folio: comes 18 i.e., tight places (bawdy) 19 unfriendly, quarreling 20 respond to such a charge* 21 Gobbo 22 producing gestation/procreation 23 (rhymes with “more”; the character is not otherwise referred to) 24 bigger 107 act 3 • scene 5 35 reason.25 But if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.26 Lorenzo How every fool27 can play upon the word!28 I think the best grace of wit 29 will shortly turn into silence, and discourse grow

the Jewish Question. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Zimmerman, Susan, and Ronald F. E.Weissman, eds. Urban Life in the Renaissance. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989. Dramatic Development Cohen,Walter. Drama of a Nation: Public Theater in Renaissance England and Spain. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1985. Dessen,Alan C. Shakespeare and the Late Moral Plays. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. Fraser, Russell A., and Norman Rabkin, eds. Drama of

the English Renaissance. 2 vols. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1976. Happé, Peter, ed. Tudor Interludes. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972. Laroque, François. Shakespeare’s Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Norland, Howard B. Drama in Early Tudor Britain, 1485– 1558. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. Theater and Stage Doran, Madeleine. Endeavors of Art: A

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