The Merchant of Venice

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This text is part of a series in which the standard Shakespearean texts have been slightly abridged to enhance student understanding of the essential story lines, characters and themes. The text is primarily designed for years 9 - 11 in the New Zealand curriculum, although it may be used at any level in English or drama classes. The author's aim is to make Shakespeare more accessible as the original texts are often regarded as too long and involved for many students. The abridgements take out just enough to make the play ...

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CharlesJ

Apr 1, 2010

An accurate look at Shakespeare's time

"The Merchant of Venice" is often condemned for its look at the Jewish community during Shakespeare's day, but it is sadly accurate to that time: antisemitism was rife across Europe and the feelings expressed by characters are ones that were felt by most of the non-Jewish society. It may disturb readers on this side of the Holocaust to read a play that portrays the Jew as the stereotypical hard-nosed banker, but it must at least be recognized that the sentiments expressed here were, however wrong, accurate to the age.

As for the rest of the play, it has some memorable characters (such as Portia, the heroine), a light-hearted brand of romance, and a few parts of comedy that lighten up the story considerably. The style was enjoyable and, if you can view the antisemitism without taking too much offence, the play is worth reading.

Welly

Nov 8, 2007

Political Incorrectness

In recent years it seems to have become almost obligatory for those who would wish to be thought 'right-minded' to condemn this play as 'racist'. It is not. This is a play ABOUT racism and racial hostility. Shakespeare never approves or condemns what his characters say; he is only interested in why they say what they say.

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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    • Print ISBN: 9781107141681, 1107141680
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    • Edition: 2018 3rd edition
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Wilder Publications, Inc
    • Print ISBN: 9781627555395, 1627555390
    • eText ISBN: 9781627556989
    • Edition: 2013
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Read Books Ltd
    • Print ISBN: 9781446025291, 1446025292
    • eText ISBN: 9781473370470
    • Edition: 2010
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice Thrift Study Edition by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Dover Publications
    • Print ISBN: 9780486475783, 0486475786
    • eText ISBN: 9780486112824
    • Edition: 2010 Green edition
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Yale University Press
    • Print ISBN: 9780300115642, 0300115644
    • eText ISBN: 9780300138252
    • Edition: 2006 Annotated
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    • Print ISBN: 9780521825443, 052182544X
    • eText ISBN: 9781139836364
    • Edition: 2003 2nd edition
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
    • Print ISBN: 9781557833884, 1557833885
    • eText ISBN: 9781476845807
    • Edition: 2001 4th edition
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Dover Publications
    • Print ISBN: 9780486284927, 0486284921
    • eText ISBN: 9780486113814
    • Edition: 1995
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    • Title: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    • Print ISBN: 9780812035704, 0812035704
    • eText ISBN: 9781438067834
    • Edition: 1985
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    • Title: Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (Author), Julie Sutherland (Editor)
    • Publisher: Broadview Press
    • Print ISBN: 9781554812127, 1554812127
    • eText ISBN: 9781770484818
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