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The Merchant of Venice (Oxford Shakespeare)
Synopses & Reviews
The Introduction to this edition of The Merchant of Venice addresses one of the most important issues raised by the play, the question of Shakespeare's attitude toward Semitism. There follows a study of the play's sources, background, and date, including a discussion of Freud's essay on "The Three Caskets." The critical interpretation of the play focuses on its contradictions and inconsistencies, especially as they relate to the overarching theme of bonds and bondage. The text, based on a fresh examination of the early editions, is presented in modernized spelling and punctuation, and helpful commentary includes new interpretations of particular passages and characters. Unfailingly lucid and helpful, this is an ideal edition for students at all levels as well as for the general reader.
Great pains have been taken to follow Shakespeare's intentions with regard to the act and scene division and the exact form of speech. The editing has been done from the quarto or folio texts, depending on which considered more authoritative, and the ideal has been to reproduce the chosen texts with as few alterations as possible. In order to help the reader and student, the annotations have been arranged on the relevant pages, providing an easily accessible and indispensable source of information.
This edition of The Merchant of Venice, based on a fresh examination of the early editions, includes an exceptionally lucid and accessible introduction which addresses Shakespeare's attitude toward Semitism and establishes the cultural, historical, and literary context in which Shakespeare wrote the play. An interesting range of production photographs and drawings of Renaissance merchants and Jews, and a survey of the play's stage history ranging from discussions of its early staging to important twentieth-century productions and performances outside England, particularly Israel, makes this an ideal edition for students, actors, and the general reader.
About the Author
Jay L. Halio is Professor of English at the University of Delaware.
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