The Merchant of Venice
Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Professor of English Literature, University of Sussex.
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 exposesthe operations of prejudice. Thus Shakespeare remains our contemporary.
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Note on Shakespeare
Acknowledgments and Textual Note
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
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