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Main page » Fiction literature » Graded Readers » The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice


The Merchant of Venice has been performed more often than any other comedy by Shakespeare. Molly Mahood pays special attention to the expectations of the play's first audience, and to our modern experience of seeing and hearing the play.

In a substantial new addition to the Introduction, Charles Edelman focuses on the play's sexual politics and recent scholarship devoted to the position of Jews in Shakespeare's time. He surveys the international scope and diversity of theatrical interpretations of The Merchant in the 1980s and 1990s and their different ways of tackling the troubling figure of Shylock.

About The New Cambridge Shakespeare Series
The New Cambridge Shakespeare is an edition of Shakespeare's works, consisting of a separate volume for each play, and a volume each for the Sonnets and the narrative poems. The texts have been prepared by an international team of the very best scholars, who provide in each case a freshly-considered and modernised text, a substantial introduction and commentary at the foot of the page. The series pays particular attention to the play in performance, commenting on the stage action and offering a performance history with illustrations. It is aimed at students of Shakespeare from A level or its equivalent, and onwards, including undergraduates, graduates and teachers.

An international team of scholars offers:
  • modernized, easily accessible texts
  • ample commentary and introductions
  • attention to the theatrical qualities of each play and its stage history
  • informative illustrations

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations and Conventions
 Date and source
 Some attitudes and assumptions behind the play
  Kinds of Comedy
  The Myth of Venice
  The Law
  Jews and Usurers
  'God-Like Amity'
 Experiencing the play
  Belmont and Venice
  The Elopement
  Debit and Credit
  Dr Balthazar
  The Renewing of Love
 The afterlife of The Merchant of Venice
 Recent critical and stage interpretations, by Charles Edelman
  Critical approaches
  The play on the stage
  Confronting the audience
  Thoroughly modern Merchants
  The 1930s
Note on the Text
List of Characters

The Merchant of Venice

Supplementary Note
Textual Analysis
 The Heyes-Roberts quarto (Q1)
  The copy for Q1
 The Pavier quarto of 1619 (Q2)
 The Folio of 1623 (F)
 The quarto of 1637 (Q3)
 Salarino, Solanio, Salerio
Appendix: Shakespeare's use of the Bible in The Merchant of Venice
Reading List

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Tags: Venice, Merchant, plays, expectations, attention, Merchant, Venice, first