The Merchant of Venice contains some of Shakespeare’s most finely crafted, multi-faceted characters and is among the most intriguing of his comedies.
Among the most fascinating of Shakespeare’s comedies, perhaps not least because of its troubling themes, The Merchant of Venice contains some of Shakespeare’s most finely crafted, multi-faceted characters. Is Shylock an anti-Semitic caricature or a victim of the self-serving Christians whose hypocrisy and greed Shakespeare exposes? The choice Bassanio must make between three caskets in order to win Portia is a fairytale element which belies the themes of money, responsibility and justice which Shakespeare explores with such subtlety and, of course, such lyricism.
Published by Oxford University Press and bound in hardback buckram by The Folio Society, The Oxford Shakespeare series offers authoritative editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The early printings have been scrupulously re-examined and interpreted by eminent scholars, who also provide introductory essays covering all relevant background information, together with an appraisal of critical views and of the plays in performance. The exhaustive commentaries pay particular attention to language and staging. Reprints of sources, music for songs, genealogical tables and maps are included where necessary; many of the volumes are illustrated, and all contain an index.
Each book has an individual editor, with the whole series overseen by Stanley Wells.
Jay L. Halio is Professor of English at the University of Delaware, where he has taught since 1968. He is the author of over 40 books and editions, as well as many articles and reviews.
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