SHAKESPEARE DEMYSTIFIED ~ MERCHANT OF VENICE 2016 – Part 1   2 comments


SHAKESPEARE DEMYSTIFIED ~ MERCHANT OF VENICE 2016 – Part 1

The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in 16th-century Venice must default on a large loan provided by an abused Jewish moneylender. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for Shylock and the famous “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech. Also notable is Portia’s speech about “the quality of mercy”.

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Characters

Antonio – a merchant of Venice in melancholic mood
Bassanio – Antonio’s friend; suitor to Portia; later the husband of Portia
Gratiano – friend of Antonio and Bassanio; in love with Nerissa; later the husband of Nerissa
Salanio, Salerio, and Salarino – friends of Antonio and Bassanio
Lorenzo – friend of Antonio and Bassanio; in love with Jessica; later the husband of Jessica
Portia – a rich heiress; later the wife of Bassanio
Nerissa – Portia’s waiting maid – in love with Gratiano; later the wife of Gratiano
Balthazar – Portia’s servant, who Portia later disguises herself as
Stephano – Nerissa’s disguise as Balthazar’s law clerk.
Shylock – a rich Jew, moneylender, father of Jessica
Jessica – daughter of Shylock, later the wife of Lorenzo
Tubal – a Jew; friend of Shylock
Launcelot Gobbo – servant of Shylock; later a servant of Bassanio; son of Old Gobbo
Old Gobbo – father of Launcelot
Leonardo – slave to Bassanio
Duke of Venice – authority who presides over the case of Shylock’s bond
Prince of Morocco – suitor to Portia
Prince of Arragon – suitor to Portia
Magnificoes of Venice, officers of the Court of Justice, gaoler, servants to Portia, and other attendants

Inserted from Wikipedia by SP Lim

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Summary

Gilbert’s Shylock After the Trial, an illustration to The Merchant of Venice.
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.

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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.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Merchant_of_Venice

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2 responses to “SHAKESPEARE DEMYSTIFIED ~ MERCHANT OF VENICE 2016 – Part 1

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  1. that is interesting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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