The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is an intriguing drama of love, greed, and revenge. At its heart, the play contrasts the characters of the maddened and vengeful Shylock, a Venetian moneylender, with the gracious, level-headed Portia, a wealthy young woman besieged by suitors. At the play's climax, Shylock insists on the enforcement of a binding contract that will cost the life of the merchant Antonio — inciting Portia to mount a memorable defense.
In this richly plotted drama, Shylock, whom Shakespeare endowed with all of the depth and vitality of his greatest characters, is not alone in his villainy. In scene after scene, a large cast of ambitious and scheming characters demonstrates that honesty is a quality often strained where matters of love and money are concerned.
The gravity and suspense of the play's central plot, together with its romance, have made The Merchant of Venice a favorite of audiences, and one of the most studied and performed of Shakespeare's plays. It is reprinted here from an authoritative text, complete with explanatory footnotes.
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answer Antonio Bass Bassanio Belmont better blood bond bring casket choose Christian clerk comes court daughter dear deny deserves desire devil doctor doth DUKE Enter Exeunt Exit eyes fair faith father fear flesh follow fool fortune gentle give gold gone Gratiano half hand hast hath head hear heart heaven hold honour hope husband Italy Jessica judge justice kind lady LAUN Launcelot learned leave live look lord Lorenzo lose madam marry master means merchant mind Nerissa never night oath play Portia pray pray thee present prince ring SALAN SALAR SCENE serve Shylock soul speak spirit stand suit sweet tell thank thee thing thou thought Three thousand ducats true turn unto Venice wife wind wish wrong young
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