Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice


As Shakespeare's plays are divided into comedies, tragedies and histories, one really has to ask: What is "The Merchant of Venice"? Shylock's ruination, his denial of the "pound of flesh," is among the more poignant - and disturbingly opaque - of the Bard's human catastrophes. Yet, it is surrounded by an almost slapstick sensibility concerning Portia's betrothal; antic, subordinate characters; and the almost obligatory mistaken-identity shtick that ends the play.

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