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A Teacher's Guide to the Signet Classics Edition of William Shakespeare's The . One of Shakespeare's most complex plays, The Merchant of Venice provides. from the same study guide. Sale of any printed copy from this CD is strictly and specifically prohibited. The Merchant of Venice Study Guide. A Progeny Press. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: Student Activities Guide. STUDENT ACTIVITIES. GUIDE. The. Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Artwork by.


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The best study guide to The Merchant of Venice on the planet, from the creators of Get the entire The Merchant of Venice LitChart as a printable PDF. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes , the SparkNotes The Merchant of Venice Study Guide has everything you need. Information on the Play. Synopsis · Characters. Scholarly Articles on the Play. A Thought-Provoking, Equivocal, Problematic Play · Neither Comedy, Tragedy, Nor .

They completely demystify Shakespeare. Is he acting out an extreme example of the kind of charity commanded by Luke above , so that he would even give up his life for his friend? What emotions are being expressed by these shots— jealous husband is told in a dream by the Devil that the only way regret, loss, abandonment? Why does Antonio call himself "a tainted wether [castrated ram] of the flock," that the community can afford to lose? For there is After these two noble fruits of no man, that imparteth his joys to friendship peace in the affections, his friend, but he joyeth the more; and support of the judgment , and no man that imparteth his followeth the last fruit; which is like griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the pomegranate, full of many the less. Penguin,

That evening, and Gratiano, in recompense for their successful Lorenzo, along with Gratiano and Salerio, helps defense of Antonio. The play ends back in Belmont, where strain is beginning to show in the relationship of In Belmont, high-born suitors have come to try Jessica and Lorenzo.

The Prince of Morocco return to their husbands and confront chooses gold, which is the wrong casket, and them about their missing rings. Portia leaves defeated.

He is followed by the makes Antonio, who has Spanish Prince of Aragon, who incorrectly accompanied his friend to Belmont, chooses the silver casket. The play ends with the and the loss of his lovers united and the jewels and money. Baited by Salerio. F rom the very beginning, The Merchant of Venice has uncomfortably straddled the boundary between comedy and tragedy.

Shakespeare wrote the play around When it was registered for the play is also quite disturbing. Why must every woman in the play dress as a man to obtain her desires? How do the lively women of the opening acts become submissive or silent at the end?

Among those who have seen in the city. The green world is a place where conflicts caused by the social play an expression of sunny comedy is Harley Granville-Barker, dislocations and harsh laws of the urban world can be worked out.

Are the marriages and the overcoming of the traditional comic blocking figure, made in Belmont love matches, or are Bassanio, Lorenzo and Shylock. Within this view, the play is one of simple oppositions: Gratiano—spendthrifts in the past—merely hedging their bets Jew and Christian; law and mercy; false bonds and true ones; against future lean times by assuring wealth through marriage? Venice and Belmont. Such issues, along with the departure This benign view has been increasingly called into question, for to of Shylock from the sustain it so much has to be ignored.

Act 3, scene 5 must reading of the play. Here, Lorenzo and. S hakespeare combined two sources in creating The Merchant of Venice, one for the flesh-bond story, the other including the hero until, on his third attempt, he was warned not to drink the for the caskets scenes.

The story of the wine.

The Merchant of Venice Study Guide - Course Hero

In this source it Belmonte, who has offered herself and is a princess who successfully her possessions to the first man who can chooses between the gold, "possess" her. He sails to the island anthropological and psychological and is feasted by the lady, who dimensions, which lend a good deal of then invites him to take a complexity to the play. Sigmund Freud drink before going to bed seized upon the casket scenes as an with her.

The drink is example of the symbolic overcoming of drugged, and he falls asleep death and the death wish: On his second Freud writes, "man overcomes death, attempt events follow the which he has recognized intellectually. James Strachey and for the third try Ansaldo London, , vol. Orator—"Of a Jew, who would for his debt have a pound of the flesh of a Christian"—which had just been translated into English.

T here has never before been a full-length feature film of the play, despite the fact that, after Hamlet, no play by Shakespeare has been staged more frequently.

Before the sound era in film there were nine filmed versions of the play, dating back to the first, a now lost two-minute short made in France in An American version in ran to ten minutes, and nine minutes of a Italian version survive—the first to be shot on location in Venice.

It was recently released by Milestone Film and Video as a segment of Silent Shakespeare, and is worth comparing with the current film for how it uses the Venetian setting. Two other silent film versions are worthy of note: With the advent of television, the BBC offered a ninety-minute version shortly after World War II in , another, not preserved, in , and a memorable one in , starring Maggie Smith as Portia.

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This was followed in by the televised BBC version produced by Jonathan Miller—his second attempt, following his version for American television that starred Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright. Sadly, Orson Welles, who worked on a version in which he played a sympathetic Shylock, never finished it, though footage survives. The most recent version—again for television, was the National Theatre production directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Henry Goodman as Shylock.

Joan Plowright had the Macklin is credited with reinventing the role and restoring the play unenviable task of playing Portia, as one critic put it, as "a new rich, to popularity. Alexander Pope said of his performance: In the words of one to a time in which it would be possible for a woman to actually be spectator, "It cannot be denied that the sight of this Jew is more a lawyer, not just masquerade as one.

Macklin, and she incongruously emphasized the comic side of Antony Sher eschewed the penchant for turn-of-the-century settings, Portia, even in the trial scene.

The highlight of his performance playing "Portia as nasty as she ought to be but so rarely is. What does Pacino bring to the role? What are his particular strengths? As one through less well in his portrayal? If you were to direct the play, how would you want Shylock to be elements of the role, and saw "Shylock as the type of a persecuted played? How would you handle setting and costuming? Shakespeare in Production Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , pp.

Lippincott Co. See also This performance is better known from its televised version of , James C. Bulman, The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare in now available on video. Manchester University Press, and late Victorian world. His was a Jew desperately imitating upper- the performance history in any modern edition of the play.

As for their apparel, all of them wear a large sufficiently fascinated by its myths and history to set two of his white lawn over their garments which reaches from their head down to greatest plays there, The Merchant of Venice and Othello. The Venetian the ground. Their error is that they believe not in Christ, independence, its relaxed sexual morals and love of pleasure, its nor yet receive the New Testament.

Jewish community from travelers and published travel accounts. One of the earliest is that of William Thomas, The History of Italy I was at a place where the whole fraternity of the Jews dwelleth together, London, , who describes Jewish usury—taking interest which is called the ghetto, being an island: It is thought there are of them in all betwixt five and six the Jews: They are distinguished and discerned from the Christians by the habits on their heads; for some of them do wear hats and those red.

It is almost incredible what gain the Venetians receive by the usury of. They have divers synagogues in their ghetto, at the least seven, the Jews, both privately and in common. In the room where they celebrate their divine service, no women sit but have a loft or gallery proper to themselves only, where I saw many Another early visitor was Laurence Aldersey, whose "Account of Jewish women, whereof some were as beautiful as I ever saw, and so Venice" provides insight into the customs of the Jews.

They all and their offspring use to wear which is always done the day before, but dedicate themselves to the red caps for so they are commanded because there they may be known strict worship of God….

For my further knowledge of these people, I went into their synagogue upon a Saturday, which is their Sabbath day, and I Truly, it is a most lamentable case for a Christian to consider the found them in their service or prayers, very devout.

They receive the damnable estate of these miserable Jews, in that they reject the true Five Books of Moses and honor them by carrying them about their Messiah and Savior of their souls, hoping to be saved rather by the church, as the papists do their cross. And as pitiful as it is to see that few of them living in Italy are converted to the Christian religion. For this I understand is the main impediment to their conversion. All their goods are confiscated as soon as they embrace Christianity.

B ecause of their central role in economic exchange—in foreign trade, loans to the state, and small-scale money-lending—Jews were seen in late medieval and early modern Europe as a necessary and bronze foundry there, as the locale where all Jews were required to relocate and to live in rented quarters.

This is the origin of the now widespread use of the term "ghetto. Jews had been access and heavy wooden gates, guarded by Christians, were opened lending money to Venice to fight its wars since the late fourteenth at sunrise and locked at sunset. At its peak, several thousand Jews century.

Venetian authorities, like others in Europe, felt uneasy lived in the Ghetto and a thriving community flourished. Anti-Jewish actions intensified in the sixteenth-century Catholic Europe, part of a larger Counter-Reformation reaction by the The origins of the Venetian Ghetto can be traced back to the Fourth Church.

Copies of the Talmud were burned in and Jews who Lateran Council of , when Pope Innocent III decreed that Jews had converted to Christianity, and whose conversion was suspect, should be forbidden from holding public office, should have were persecuted. In Pope Paul IV declared, "Jews were clothing that distinguished them from Christians, and should not condemned to live in a quarter set apart from the Christians.

It was the responsibility of also had to wear distinctive garb and were no longer allowed to own Christian magistrates to restrict Jewish economic activity.

The Venetian Ghetto served as a model for other Italian Segregation was seen as a simple way of enforcing these laws in cities. Jews had been Padua, and elsewhere in Italy. Not until , two hundred and eighty years after they had first They were tolerated as a source of revenue for the government and swung shut on the Jews within, would the wooden gates of the as providers of cheap credit for poor Christians. Unlike what we find Venetian ghetto be torn down and burned. T he bitter conflict between Antonio and Shylock is rooted in their different approaches to money-lending.

Was it permissible to charge interest to the rich, though not to the poor?

He hates our sacred nation, and he rails, After the Act Against Usury passed in , lending at ten percent Even there where merchants most do congregate, interest was tolerated and by , the House of Commons struck On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, out of the usury statute the words "that all usury was against the law Which he calls interest. So well is Christian generosity, while Shylock is positioned as a bloodthirsty the rule of Paul observed … not to be a lover of filthy lucre, from fiend.

However, Christian usury had become business as usual by filthy stews, from filthy Jews. Debates over usury in late medieval and early modern Europe The topic of usury was not merely an academic one for Shakespeare; coincided with, and were prompted by, the rise of the banking his own father was charged and fined for lending money at excessive industry, the discovery of the new world and the growth of overseas interest—charging twenty pounds interest on loans of eighty and markets and trade, all of which depended on money lent at interest.

There was general agreement that usury was both wrong and necessary, and had to be regulated. The debates turned on a The readings that follow offer the much-debated positions in the number of complex questions: Was all money-lending at interest Bible, which are followed by the pros and cons of usury as set out by forbidden, as St. Thomas Aquinas had argued, or was it only wrong Francis Bacon in his Essays.

Merchant of Venice Teachers Guide

Did usury depend upon intent? Did it. Thou shalt take no usury of him nor vantage, but thou shalt fear thy god, that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money to usury, nor lend him thy vituals for increase. Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury, but thou shalt not lend upon usury unto thy brother, that the Lord God may bless thee in all that thou setteth thine hand to, in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

LUKE 6: And as ye would that men should do to you, so do ye to them likewise. That the usurer is the drone … public poverty. That the usurer breaketh the first law, that was made for mankind after the fall. That it is against nature for money to some respect hindereth merchandizing, yet beget money; and the like. I say this only: It is good to trade. For were it not for this quite up. As for mortgaging or pawning, it lazy trade of usury, money would not be still, will little mend the matter: The second, that it makes poor I remember a cruel moneyed man in the merchants.

For, as a farmer cannot husband his ground so country, that would say, The devil take this well, if he sit at a great rent; so the merchant usury, it keeps us from forfeitures, of cannot drive his trade so well, if he sit at great mortgages and bonds. The third and last is, usury.

The third is incident to the other two; that it is a vanity to conceive, that there and that is the decay of customs of kings or would be ordinary borrowing without states, which ebb or flow, with merchandizing. For the usurer if borrowing be cramped. Therefore to being at certainties, and others at uncertainties, speak of the abolishing of usury is idle. All at the end of the game, most of the money will states have ever had it, in one kind or be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth, when rate, or other.

The fifth, that it. The sixth, that it doth dull and damp all industries, improvements,. Is his analogy appropriate or inexact? Compare what he says to what the Bible says about usury: Is the 3, ducats that Shylock lends to Antonio usury—that is, lent at interest—if the forfeiture is not money but flesh?

What does Shylock lose or gain by such an agreement? See the scenes in which he justifies his "merry sport" see 1. Antonio says that he never borrows or lends upon interest 1. Is he acting out an extreme example of the kind of charity commanded by Luke above , so that he would even give up his life for his friend? Is he motivated by selflessness or by the desire to bind Bassanio to him in return?

To what extent can the attack on Jewish money-lending be seen as a projection by a Christian culture, long ambivalent about charging money at interest, but now doing so, given its necessity in an age that increasingly depended upon the investment of capital? Shylock is not the only character to convert: One of the most striking who were employed to impersonate converting Jews. The pressure to convert Jews was accompanied by a fear that their conversion was insincere, that Jews would apostatize.

As one The urge to convert Jews was especially strong in the sixteenth seventeenth-century English writer, Thomas Calvert, put it: In embraced Christ. London in Yehudah Menda publicly converted from Judaism, his baptism presided over by the influential Protestant writer, John Conversion also raised questions about the fate of the children of Foxe.

Foxe subsequently published the conversion tract, A Sermon mixed unions—a subject nervously discussed both in terms of Preached at the Christening of a Certain Jew, at London London, Jewish-Christian and white-black unions in Act 3, scene 5. This Catholics, too, celebrated the public conversion of Jews. If so, are Jews attend conversion sermons, and converts were enlisted to argue with a different nation or race—and could they fully be citizens?

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Are the stubborn Jews. The end result, Martin writes, was that "now one, Jews sincere in their conversions? I find that by the ancient law of England, that if any Christian man pretended and held forth that he embraced and believed Jesus to be did marry with a woman that was a Jew, or a Christian woman that the true Messiah. He professed that he was seriously and heartily married with a Jew, it was felony, and the party so offending should grieved for his former blasphemies against him.

He mournfully be burnt alive. He seemed to desire nothing I do from the bottom of my heart rejoice in the behalf of this more earnestly than that he might be judged person, for whose cause we are as now met here together, who worthy to be admitted into the Christian being transported from out the uttermost parts of Barbary into Church by the sacrament of baptism.

By England, and conversant amongst us, by the space of five whole these tricks of legerdemain, he deceived years, renouncing now at the last the natural contumacy of his many of the learned doctors, especially Dr. And a Sabbath to be made partaker of his holy congregation through faith, and was appointed publicly, wherein baptism baptism. And withal I most humbly beseech the Almighty God, should be administered to this new that he will not only vouchsafe his gracious increase to this Disciple in St.

But the very day before he infidelity, and seemeth after a certain manner their inheritable was to be baptized, this dissembling disease, who are after a certain sort, from their mothers womb, Jew ran away.

And for this cause especially, I suppose it came to pass that Antiquities of the University of Oxford, 2 vols. Gutch Oxford, Hereupon Dr. Twyss laid aside the sermon which he had prepared, In what ways does the conversion of a Jewish man differ from the conversion of a Jewish woman? To what extent does circumcision make a difference—insofar as a sign of their religion is inscribed on the flesh? How might we tell? What evidence does the play or film offer in support of this? What aspects of her traditions—and her Jewishness—will she pass on, if any?

F rom the very outset, The Merchant of Venice pits male friendship against the claims of marriage. Only after the Portia, for love or money or both, threatens to weaken the bonds of marital bond supplants that of male friendship can the comedy friendship. For some in the Renaissance, like the philosopher come to a close. Even Shylock has his friend and confidante, nothing free but the entrance, the continuance being forced and Tubal, who goes in search of Jessica in Genoa, a journey that would constrained, depending elsewhere than from our will, and a have been too humiliating and heart-breaking for Shylock to match ordinarily concluded to other ends: Whereas in passages appear below: A man can same, but itself.

Seeing to speak truly that the ordinary scarce allege his own merits with modesty, much less extol them; a sufficiency of women cannot answer this conference and man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate or beg; and a number of communication, the nurse of this sacred bond, nor seem their the like.

And truly, if without that, such a genuine and voluntary acquaintance might be contracted, where not only Portia is well aware of the close bonds that knit her new husband, minds that this entire jovissance, but also bodies, a share of the Bassanio, to Antonio, and what Antonio says about his love for alliance, and where a man might wholly be engaged.

It is certain Bassanio in the courtroom scene can only reinforce her concern that that friendship would thereby be more complete and full. But this Antonio constitutes something of a threat to her marriage: Friendship," Essays, trans. John Florio London, For friendship cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings, and maketh indeed a fair day in the affections, from storm and suffocations, are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not tempests; but it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, darkness, and confusion of thoughts.

Neither is this to be steel to open the spleen, flowers of sulphur for the lungs, understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from castoreum for the brain; but no his friend; but before you come to receipt openeth the heart, but a true that, certain it is, that whosoever hath friend; to whom you may impart his mind fraught with many griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, thoughts, his wits and understanding counsels, and whatsoever lieth do clarify and break up, in the upon the heart to oppress it, is a communicating and discoursing with kind of civil shrift or confession….

For there is After these two noble fruits of no man, that imparteth his joys to friendship peace in the affections, his friend, but he joyeth the more; and support of the judgment , and no man that imparteth his followeth the last fruit; which is like griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the pomegranate, full of many the less. But yet without praying in aid of a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear, that it was a alchemists, there is a manifest image of this, in the ordinary sparing speech of the ancients, to say, that a friend is another course of nature.

For in bodies, union strengtheneth and himself; for that a friend is far more than himself. What is the nature of the bond between Antonio and Bassanio? Is Antonio in love with Bassanio? If so, what kind of love is this? Is it reciprocated? Compare how the relationship is portrayed in the film with how it comes across in the play text. Compare the friendship of Portia and Nerissa with that of the friendship of the men in the play.

What are the main differences? Why does Antonio call himself "a tainted wether [castrated ram] of the flock," that the community can afford to lose? Is Antonio self- dramatizing or narcissistic in his desire that Bassanio be present to witness his death? If so, why? Does the end of the play adequately end the tension caused by the romantic triangle of Portia, Bassanio and Antonio?

To what extent does The Merchant of Venice support or call into question the claims for friendship set forth in Montaigne?

And which the Jew? Sign In Sign Up. Plot Summary. Generosity Reading and Interpretation Love and Friendship. All Symbols Stones, Rings, and Caskets. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.

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The Merchant of Venice | Study Guide

Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. Understand every line of The Merchant of Venice. A concise biography of William Shakespeare plus historical and literary context for The Merchant of Venice. In-depth summary and analysis of every scene of The Merchant of Venice. Visual theme-tracking, too. Explanations, analysis, and visualizations of The Merchant of Venice 's themes.

The Merchant of Venice 's important quotes, sortable by theme, character, or scene. Description, analysis, and timelines for The Merchant of Venice 's characters. Explanations of The Merchant of Venice 's symbols, and tracking of where they appear. An interactive data visualization of The Merchant of Venice 's plot and themes. Brief Biography of William Shakespeare Shakespeare's father was a glove-maker, and Shakespeare received no more than a grammar school education.

He married Anne Hathaway in , but left his family behind around and moved to London, where he became an actor and playwright. He was an immediate success: Shakespeare soon became the most popular playwright of the day as well as a part-owner of the Globe Theater. His theater troupe was adopted by King James as the King's Men in Shakespeare retired as a rich and prominent man to Stratford-upon-Avon in , and died three years later.

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In fact, Jews were banished completely from England in by King Edward I, and were not officially allowed to return until , when Oliver Cromwell allowed Jews to return. This exile was technically in effect during Shakespeare's time, but scholars believe that a few hundred Jews still lived around London in the guise of Christians.