Author: William Shakespeare
The Wordsworth Classics’ Shakespeare Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare’s works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal. The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, but it remains deeply controversial.
The text may seem anti-Semitic; yet repeatedly, in performance, it has revealed a contrasting nature. Shylock, though vanquished in the law-court, often triumphs in the theatre. In his intensity he can dominate the play, challenging abrasively its romantic and lyrical affirmations.
What results is a bitter-sweet drama. Though The Merchant of Venice offers some of the traditional pleasures of romantic comedy, it also exposes the operations of prejudice. Thus Shakespeare remains our contemporary.