By William Shakespeare
Charles Edelman specializes in the play's sexual politics and up to date scholarship dedicated to the location of Jews in Shakespeare's time during this new version. He surveys the foreign scope of theatrical interpretations of The service provider within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties in addition to alternative ways of tackling the troubling determine of Shylock. First version Hb (1988): 0-521-22156-0 First variation Pb (1988): 0-521-29371-5
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Additional info for The Merchant of Venice (The New Cambridge Shakespeare)
DEBIT AND CREDIT The play now returns (Act 2, Scene 7 to Act 3, Scene 2) to an alternation of scenes between Belmont and Venice. We watch with mounting satisfaction as first Morocco and then Arragon makes the wrong choice of casket ; all is progressing according to the folk-tale pattern in which the third contender always wins. By contrast, the scenes in Venice build up our concern for Antonio ; we expect Bassanio to gain Portia and her fortune, but can he do so in time to save his friend ? Finally these rising hopes and fears converge with vivid dramatic effect in the beautifully orchestrated scene of Bassanio's success.
13-20) Many effects are achieved in this double image of the prodigal son and a maritime venture : it acts as a reminder that prodigality is as much of an aberration as avarice ; it rouses a shiver of apprehension over Antonio's cargoes ; it casts a doubt on the future happiness of impetuous lovers ; it recalls a different love, the long-suffering of the prodigal's father, and so of Antonio. 24) and 'here dwells my father Jew' (26), and raising doubts about his characterisation of Jessica as 'wise, fair, and true' (57) at the moment she dashes down to the counting-house to 'gild' herself with more of her father's ducats.
The assumptions of the Elizabethans about law and equity are ones that we basically share ; their preconceptions about Jews and usury are a good deal more likely to elude us. 1 2 3 Lawrence Danson, The Harmonies ofl The Merchant of Venice ', 1978, pp. 86-9. E. P . J . Sur. 29 (1976), 93-101 -the most persuasive refutation of the idea that Shakespeare is concerned with Chancery in Act 4. George W. Keeton, Shakespeare's Legal and Political Background, 1967, p. 145. 19 Introduction JEWS AND USURERS Though practising Jews had been excluded from England for three centuries, Elizabethan London had its colony of nominally Christianised Jews from Spain and Portugal.