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"The Merchant of Venice" (The Arden Shakespeare) (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series) Paperback – 1 May 1964


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Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; New Ed edition (1 May 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436035
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1.5 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Amazon Review

"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" Shylock's impassioned plea in the middle of The Merchant of Venice is one of its most dramatic moments. After the Holocaust, the play has become a battleground for those who argue that the play represents Shakespeare's ultimate statement against ignorance and anti-Semitism in favour of a liberal vision of tolerance and multiculturalism. Other critics have pointed out that the play is, after all, a comedy that ultimately pokes fun at a 16th-century Jew. In fact, the bare outline of the plot suggests that the play is far more complex than either of these characterisations. Bassanio, a feckless young Venetian, asks his wealthy friend, the merchant Antonio, for money to finance a trip to woo the beautiful Portia in Belmont. Reluctant to refuse his friend (to whom he professes intense love), Antonio borrows the money from the Jewish moneylender. If he reneges on the deal, Shylock jokingly demands a pound of his flesh. When all Antonio's ships are lost at sea, Shylock calls in his debt, and the love and laughter of the first scenes of the play threaten to give way to death and tragedy. The final climactic courtroom scene, complete with a cross-dressed Portia, a knife-wielding Shylock, and the debate on "the quality of mercy" is one of the great dramatic moments in Shakespeare. The controversial subject matter of the play ensures that it continues to repel, divide but also fascinate its many audiences. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The introduction and commentary reveal an author with a lively awareness of the importance of perceiving the play as a theatrical document, one which comes to life, which is completed only in performance …' The Review of English Studies --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The earliest text of The Merchant of Venice is a quarto dated 1600. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. Bulwer on 5 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Oxford School Shakespeare editions of the Bard's most popular plays are reassuring for students tackling Shakespeare for the first time and their edition of 'The Merchant of Venice' is no exception. The text is set out clearly with notes alongside, allowing instant access to brief explanations of words and phrases that may be difficult to understand for students in the 21st century, but not too much is given away, thus allowing pupils to work it out for themselves.
Attractive full-page photographs of recent productions allow students to see that these are plays that are regularly performed in the theatre in many different styles and time settings. My students are always pleased if they recognize an actor from the telly in them!
Beyond the text, there are helpful resumes of the action, both a brief one and a more complete summary, interesting background and historical information and, varied and thought-provoking assignments that can work well with a variety of different levels and age groups - always a relief for hard-pressed teachers!
I think Oxford School Shakespeare editions work well and I recommend them for use with classes from years 8 to 11. For a more drama-based approach, try the new Longman's or Cambridge School editions.
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The joy of Shakespeare from an actor's point of view is the myriad ways you can perform them. And Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's best plays for that reason - each of the characters is so open to interpretation that this play (even more than is usual for Shakespeare) could be put together in almost infinite ways. Add to that the scene which gave birth to all today's courtroom dramas, and one Shakespeare's most famous and interesting characters in Shylock, and this is a play which I recommend highly for potential actors/directors and audience members.

Normally Arden editions are my edition of choice by a long way, and that is still true here. But the introduction is rather dated in this edition - it was written around 50 years ago - and this means that some issues in the play (notably the potentially homosexual relationship between Antonio and Bassanio) are totally skimmed over, where in a recently written edition I am sure this would be explored in full. Having said that, though, the notes are informative to the right level and the text is authoritative.

The dated intro means I've dropped it a star... If Arden bring out a new edition it'll get a fifth...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a great help with my daughters Foundation Course at University. if you can also buy The Merchant Of Venice (York Notes) which works great alongside this book.
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By Sam on 19 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This was not what I expected - my fault I think for not reading the blurb properly. It's a great GCSE text as it includes the play with very clear commentary and some extra info on context at the start. I had wanted pure analysis. As a GCSE aid it is 5 stars.
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By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER on 15 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Good version - but the new RSC Macmillan series is better although this title not yet available in that series.
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