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The Merchant of Venice (1596)

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,968102579 (3.78)289
"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart) The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged. Each volume features: * Authoritative, reliable texts * High quality introductions and notes * New, more readable trade trim size * An essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and essays on Shakespeare's life and the selection of texts… (more)
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» See also 289 mentions

English (93)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
I had to use a guide to understand the old English. Typical Shakespeare. Don’t really understand the Roman mythology. Wasn’t really funny. Old English again. Humor was different then. ( )
  MaryRachelSmith | Feb 12, 2022 |
It was okay ( )
  bookishreputation | Feb 7, 2022 |
Bassanio, a noble but penniless Venetian, asks his wealthy merchant friend Antonio for a loan so that Bassanio can undertake a journey to woo the heiress Portia. Antonio, whose money is invested in foreign ventures, borrows the sum from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, on the condition that, if the loan cannot be repaid in time, Antonio will forfeit a pound of flesh. Antonio is reluctant to do business with Shylock. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 24, 2022 |
Hmmmm I'm just now seeing a theme of faithfulness and faithlessness in these Shakespeare plays. I feel a paper coming on.... ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
And so ends my Year of Shakespeare. My roommates and I have, from April 2020 - April 2021, read aloud all of Shakespeare's plays (including Edward III, Pericles, and Two Noble Kinsmen, and excluding the contested Double Falsehood and Sir Thomas More, though those may be yet to come). What a ride. Honestly, I would recommend it to anyone for whom the idea holds some interest. There's a lot of underappreciated Shakespeare (though that seems like an oxymoron), some of which I'd read before but lots of which I hadn't. Stand-outs in the "unsung" crowd were Coriolanus, Two Noble Kinsmen, Troilus and Cressida, Henry IV Part 2, Antony and Cleopatra, and to a lesser extent Henry VI Part 3, King John, Edward III and Pericles.

But none of this has been about Merchant of Venice. So here goes-- mostly I don't quite know what to think about the play, but I'll take a stab at it. It seems to me that the main thrust of the play is that every person in it turns all of their personal relationships (with the possible exception of the relationship between Launcelot Gobbo and Old Gobbo) into monetary transactions-- not just employing each other, but buying each other's love, stealing from each other, praising beauty in terms of gold and jewels. Marriages especially are wealth contracts. Every character is turned into a merchant of affection. And then Shylock is the one among them who makes the natural extension of that paradigm and wants to turn a monetary transaction into one of flesh, literally, for which attempt he is completely undone and destroyed. Not that you SHOULD be able to cut a pound of flesh out of someone who owes you money. Just that Shylock's claim literalizes, and thereby exposes, the terrible and depressing way in which everybody is behaving. That's my interpretation, anyway. Oh and then Act 5 happens because Shakespeare remembered he was supposed to be writing a comedy.

In an ideal performance of Merchant of Venice, Shylock's "You have among you many a purchased slave" speech should be the center of the whole play. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (611 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bamber, LindaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnett, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, Harold F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, John RussellEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cajander, PaavoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino, NemiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fergusson, FrancisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelev, Penkosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilchrist, Trevor M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gollancz, IsraelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halio, Jay L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hazlitt, WilliamContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Pei te HurinuiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamar, VirginiaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leggatt, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodovico, Cesare VicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardo, Agostinosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lovett, Robert MorssEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahood, M. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merchant, W. MoelwynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Myrick, KennethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowe, NicholasContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlegel, August Wilhelm vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serpieri, AlessandroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smallwood, RobertContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ReedEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoll, Elmer EdgarContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, George CoffinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verity, A. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verity, A. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werstine, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
Quotations
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes
When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.
My meaning in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me that he is sufficient.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
It is a wise father that knows his own child.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete The Merchant of Venice only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or simplifications (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart) The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged. Each volume features: * Authoritative, reliable texts * High quality introductions and notes * New, more readable trade trim size * An essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and essays on Shakespeare's life and the selection of texts

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714626, 0141013958

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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