18

I don't believe it would be right to call him a religious fanatic. His plays contain both pro- and anti-Christian elements, all of which seem to be more about playing into the sense of the times than any personal conviction. There are hints that he may have been a crypto-Catholic (as his father was accused of, the nature of the Ghost in Hamlet, and so on), ...


12

Yes, the device of the good and the bad angel had definitely been used before, for example by Christopher Marlowe in The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Marlowe's plays are generally hard to date and Doctor Faustus was probably written between 1587 and 1589, while The Merchant of Venice was presumably written between 1596 and 1599, i.e. several years after ...


8

First of all, let's take a look at the wider context around this line: Beshrew your eyes, They have o'erlook'd me and divided me; One half of me is yours, the other half yours, Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, And so all yours. O, these naughty times Put bars between the owners and their rights! And so, though yours, not yours. ...


8

Like most English people until well into the twentieth century, Shakespeare was baptized into the Anglican church, but it does not follow that he was himself any more religious than the average Englishman of his time; and the treatment of Jews in The Merchant of Venice is a weak basis for the argument that Shakespeare himself was a devout Christian. To ...


7

The passage alludes to silver, purified by smelting seven times, as in Psalm 12:6: The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Silver does double duty here, both as the color of the box, and as the surface of a mirror. The box warned that “Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves”. His ...


5

There is a modern tradition of Antonio and Bassanio, and the rest of The Merchant of Venice, being interpreted in queer terms. A common starting point for this is the first line of the play. "In sooth, I know not why I am so sad", says Antonio. We don't either. He's rich, he has close friends, he seems to have no desire to marry. He goes to great ...


5

Usually, as he says in the bit you quote, Antonio is cash-poor but ship-rich. He has many ships, so he can afford to loose one. But in Act III, scene 1 we learn Why, yet it lives there unchecked that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wrack’d on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call the place, a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the ...


5

Shylock acted pre-emptively to get Antonio arrested. In Act III, Scene I, Tubal brings assorted news to Shylock, of Antonio's bad luck with his ships and of Jessica spending her father's wealth. From the following quote (emphasis mine), it seems that at this point Antonio is not yet in a state of bankruptcy, but it's certain that he will reach that point and ...


4

Perhaps your confusion arises from the fact that a "pound of flesh" meaning something required to be paid back more or less originates from the play (there were earlier predecessors, including the 14th-century tale Il Pecorone by Giovanni Fiorentino, which was published in Milan in 1558, but Shakespeare is the primary example these days). Shylock ...


4

There's no way to make a direct link between Portia's preparations and Bassanio's eventual choice. It's more instructive, I'd say, to consider the song's effect on the audience. We see, as early as Portia's first appearance (act 1, scene 2), that she's attracted to Bassanio. "I remember him well," she responds when Nerissa mentions him. She has just trashed ...


2

Lorenzo and Jessica arrived at Belmont near the end of Act 3, scene 2. It is clear from Gratiano's words that he knows who they are ("But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?"); Bassanio also greets Lorenzo by name, whereas Portia merely says that "They are entirely welcome." (i.e. not you). Jessica speaks exactly seven (contiguous) lines in this scene, ...


2

There is a shorter version of The Merchant of Venice by K.J. O'Hara, who has been Artistic Director of the Antic Mind Theatre Company and an English and drama teacher. The Merchant of Venice: Abridged for Schools and Performance was published by CreateSpace (Amazon's publishing platform) in 2015. The goal of the abridgement was to create a version that ...


1

In order to understand "scepter", one should first look at the few lines that have been left out (quoted from the MIT Shakespeare): It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; Portia says that the quality of mercy is strongest (or has the strongest effect) ...


1

Silver is tried or put seven times on the fire ; so as to , furnish it (or make it glow) in its silvery colour. (1st line) Similarly a judgement should also be tested seven times (just a number;Which means anything should be judged much carefully) (2nd line) A judgement which is tested ...


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