Free site book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. No cover Download; Bibrec. Download. The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between and Although classified as a comedy. The Merchant of Venice The illustrations are from The Merchant of Venice, told by a popular novelist, John C. Winston, Last updated Wednesday.

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We do not know whether these particular seventeenth-century printers, like most of that time, were responsible for question marks, commas, periods, and, especially, all-purpose colons, or whether these particular printers tried to follow their handwritten sources. But in spite of these equivocations and uncertainties, it remains true that, to a very considerable extent, punctuation tends to result from just how the mind responsible for that punctuating hears the text.

To replace commas with editorial periods is thus risky and on the whole an undesirable practice. When the printed text has a colon, what we are being signaled is that they heard a syntactic stop—though not necessarily or even usually the particular kind of syntactic stop we associate, today, with the colon.

It is therefore inappropriate to substitute editorial commas for original colons. It is also inappropriate to employ editorial colons when their syntactic usage of colons does not match xiv about this book ours.

In general, the closest thing to their syntactic sense of the colon is our and their period. The printed interrogation question marks, too, merit extremely respectful handling.

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In particular, editorial exclamation marks should very rarely be substituted for interrogation marks. I have tried, here, to use the printed seventeenth-century text as a guide to both hearing and understanding what Shakespeare wrote.

Since the original printed texts there not being, as there never are for Shakespeare, any surviving manuscripts are frequently careless as well as self-contradictory, I have been relatively free with the wording of stage directions—and in some cases have added brief directions, to indicate who is speaking to whom. I have made no emendations; I have necessarily been obliged to make choices.

Textual decisions have been annotated when the differences between or among the original printed texts seem either marked or of unusual interest. Words with entirely separate meanings are annotated only for meanings no longer current in Modern English. There is an alphabetically arranged listing of such words and phrases in the Finding List at the back of the book.

The details of the original tale are of some interest, but will not be here discussed: what is most relevant to readers of this edition is how Shakespeare presents material from all his sources, and thus how it seems most accurately and usefully to read his play as we have it.

We do not need to know who or what Shakespeare was, nor do we need to understand every one of these lines in detail, to realize that we have here been launched on a tautly controlled literary-dramatic expedition.

In matters of religious belief, even matters of knowledge, The Merchant of Venice must be approached, today, with caution. We know virtually nothing about his likes and dislikes, or though he may sometimes seem to know everything knowable the true extent of his knowledge. He must have enjoyed success, or he would hardly have worked so intensely at achieving it. He used his money to download land, and to download a coat of arms. But who does not enjoy success? Who in a landdominated culture does not value its ownership?

We must be particularly careful not to lean on a tremendously effective and enormously popular comic drama, trying to place it in an ideological schema—like that which we have come to call anti-Semitism—in which it has little if any legitimate place.

But though incredibly gifted, he remains no more than human. Most of the people he knew were Christian, and he had to know a good deal about that faith. Did he know any Muslims, and what did he know about Islam? There is a total lack of evidence. But did he know any Jews, and what did he know about Judaism? The play plainly seems to be deeply concerned with both Jews and Judaism; Shylock and his daughter are major players in the plot.

But what is the true role and importance of their stated religious identity? We also need to understand that Elizabethan England had only relatively recently been caught up in the Renaissance transformation of European economies.

Perhaps, for our purposes, today, it ought to be considered largely symbolic. Still, The Merchant of Venice being a great play by the greatest of playwrights, the situation is inevitably somewhat more complex.

He is as it were obliged to engage them as human beings. Still have I borne it with a patient shrug For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine, And all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help. Go to then, you come to me, and you say Shylock, we would have monies, you say so. You that did void your rheum upon my beard, And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold, monies is your suit.

What should I say to you? Should I not say, Hath a dog money? Is it possible xxiii introduction A cur should lend three thousand ducats? He is simply engaging, on levels few can reach, with a character in pain. He does this with Shylock on one more occasion, this time in prose rather than in verse: I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. He is straightforwardly depicting a character, in the depth that he as a writer needed to attain.

What he has achieved is in a sense a natural byproduct of his genius rather than anything intrinsic to some general view of Jews and Jewishness, which is to some degree the xxiv introduction nominal subject matter of his play. Is there a contradiction between the human Shylock and these attacks on what is obviously considered the nonhuman nature of Jews and Jewishness?

Of course there is—if we attempt to frame The Merchant of Venice as an ideological drama, even an exposition of how Shakespeare himself viewed Jews and Jewishness.

The play was no more conceived in such terms than The Taming of the Shrew was meant as a savage assault on women or than The Tempest was intended to be a close critique of magic or the behavior of magicians.

About The Merchant Of Venice

Antonio is clearly one of its three focal points, and he is a major player. When he is required to be melancholy, he is melancholy, and when that need has passed,he ceases to be melancholy.

He can be loyal, he can be longsuffering—everything that he needs to be and, aside from the characteristic Shakespearean elegance with which he speaks, not a great deal more. Antonio works quite satisfactorily, in a role thus delimited; his characterization will not bear any large, close examination. The abusive episodes that Shylock has described are not here recalled. In act 1, scene 2, Portia is the very model of maidenly wisdom and, as to the other sex, cynicism.

Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

The Merchant of Venice

If he have the condition of a saint, and the complexion of a divel, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come Nerissa. Sirrah go before. She doggedly deals with, and is rid of, a number of failed suitors—until suddenly, there is an unknown and unnamed one an- xxvi introduction nounced by a messenger—that is, a servant.

The Elizabethan audience would have had no trouble understanding that the relative of a messenger would have no business courting a high-upper-class woman who consorts on equal terms with princes. In act 3, scene 2 we see Portia in a more sobered state. The unknown suitor has been the one she most wanted, Bassanio, and he is impatient to take the test that will either win her or lose her.

Plainly, she wants to be with him but not to risk being unable to be with him any longer, if he fails the test.

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She does not think he will fail it. But just the same, she is cautious.

As he steps through the casket maze, sweet music is played, and sung, creating a perfect atmosphere for romantic success. Portia sees it coming, for she knows which choice would be the right one,and speaks in an aside of her maidenly wish not to hurry this wonderful thing to its death: O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy, In measure rein thy joy, scant this excess.

I feel too much thy blessing, make it less, For fear I surfeit.

Though for myself alone I would not be ambitious in my wish To wish myself much better, yet for you I would be trebled twenty times myself, A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times More rich, that only to stand high in your account I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, Exceed account.

But the full sum of me Is sum of something — which to term in gross, Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed, Happy in this, she is not yet so old But she may learn, happier than this, She is not bred so dull but she can learn. This is in the best sense comedy—that is, drama with a happy ending. Categorized as a comedy, this play tells the story of Rosalind who flees to the Forest of Arden after a family fiasco.

There she meets one of Shakespeare most And while named after the famous emperor, this play actually centers around the character of Brutus and The manner in which this novel came together is very interesting. First off, the story was publishe Join Now Login. Click to Preview. William Shakespeare Downloads: Read Five eBooks Free! Become a member of Free-Ebooks.

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About The Merchant Of Venice

As he steps through the casket maze, sweet music is played, and sung, creating a perfect atmosphere for romantic success. Other books by author I take it your own business calls on you, And you embrace the occasion to depart. He does this with Shylock on one more occasion, this time in prose rather than in verse: I am a Jew.

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;. If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. Of course there is—if we attempt to frame The Merchant of Venice as an ideological drama, even an exposition of how Shakespeare himself viewed Jews and Jewishness.

Textual decisions have been annotated when the differences between or among the original printed texts seem either marked or of unusual interest. Venice Italy —Drama.