2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant play discussing highly controversial themes!,
This review is from: The Oxford Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)The Merchant of Venice is an example of a Shakespearean play that allows the reader to become engaged and understand the drama at the first attempt. This particular copy gives brilliant notes underneath the action, meaning that you don't have to look elsewhere.
The story depicts the dealings of an unsympathetic Jewish money lender to a young Venetian merchant. When reading this play, it is easy, (as many directors have done) to perceive Shylock as a man who is battling against the anti-semetic views of everyone else. In fact, at the time of writing, anti-semetism thrived due to the nature of many Jews line of work. This play presents a stereotypical money lender in Shylock, and it enables the 21st century reader to draw some conclusions as to whether the play is anti-semetic or not. As with all plays, it is possible over analyse situations, and for the first time reader, it would be helpful to remind yourself that anti-semetism was very much engrained in the lives of many 16th century europeans.
Contoversial content aside, this play is worth reading just for the knive wielding Shylock demanding his 'pound of flesh' in the final court room scene - Wholly entertaining!