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The Merchant of Venice Study Guide

The Merchant of Venice Study Guide



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Published by Saddleback
Thirty-five reproducible activities per guide reiforce basic reading and comprehension skills while teaching higher-order critical thinking. Also included are teaching suggestions, background notes, summaries, and answer keys.
Thirty-five reproducible activities per guide reiforce basic reading and comprehension skills while teaching higher-order critical thinking. Also included are teaching suggestions, background notes, summaries, and answer keys.

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Publish date: Jan 1, 2011
Added to Scribd: Nov 24, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781602918948
List Price: $17.95 Buy Now


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mstrust reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Beautiful and wealthy Portia is looking for a husband, and Bassanio wants to try for her hand but he is too poor to present himself as a viable suitor. He turns to his best friend Antonio, who has several ships expected with cargo that will bring him more wealth. The two friends go to Shylock the moneylender for a loan, but Shylock uses their need to set up his revenge. Antonio has always taunted and demeaned the Jewish moneylender, so rather than contracting for property if Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock demands a pound of the debtor's flesh.The speeches by Shylock are the most famous of this play and though he is overall portrayed as a cruel man who is openly hated by the others, including his own daughter, he is also given the opportunity to point out that his religion makes him no less human than a Christian. I would think modern audiences would see him as a more empathetic character than Antonio, whose cruelty is addressed with an admission that he has called Shylock a dog and spat on him in the past and is likely to do it in the future. The courtroom scene near the end is tense as Shylock demands payment.
seabear_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Those hypocritical bastards! Once a comedy, now a tragedy for those of us who aren't anti-Semitic. Although given the global financial crisis, perhaps a comedy once more if you replace "the Jew" with "the banker".
kyle_peters_58 reviewed this
Bassanio is madly in love with a rich heiress named Portia, but he hasn't the money to travel to her. His best friend Antonio helps him by accepting a loan from a Jew moneylender named Shylock who demands that the collateral be Antonio's blood. While Portia meets with suitors and instructs them to pass a test involving three casks, a rumor goes around that Antonio's ships have met a dismal fate and that he will not be able to pay back his debt. Having a grudge against Antonio, Shylock is eager to collect his collateral and in his rage he blindly enters into a court case in which his hopes are combated with a formidable force. Bassanio enters into the test for Portia's hand in marriage and chooses his cask. A Shakespearean comedy, The Merchant of Venice culminates in a rather hilarious final act in which a promise is tested, failed, and resurrected.
cwoodrow_3 reviewed this
I was not a big fan of this book/ play, but I am not the biggest fan of Shakespeare anyway. Like most Shakespeare plays, the plot line and story is complicated and entertwined, and the language is complicated. This book would be most appropriate for high school students.
milti_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
It has been read and over-read for school till it has lost all its dramatic value for me. But the true fact of the matter is that Shylock is an everlasting character who will never erase himself from common memory.
meditationesmartini reviewed this
Rated 5/5
CHRIS-TIANS! CHRIS-TIANS! GOTTA GIVE IT UP FOR CHRIS-TIANS! EVERYTHING GOES GREAT FOR CHRIS-TIANS! There are, as we know, many unresolvable interpretative ourobori in this play--the anti-Semitism thing, the relationship of Antonio and Bassanio, the very vexed question of the Venetian oath, that false thing, and what yet makes Bassanio and Portia infinitely cold and clean and Shylock a quintessence of grime--I mean to say, better to rule one's house in the Ghetto than serve in Belmont, right? As Jessica will learn, to her sorrow? The fact that the passionate malice of the Italians is so much more terrifying, here, than the grim legalmindedness of the Jew? These are all interesting things, and this great play is chock-full of more cool thoughts like them--about capitalism, about youth sucking age dry like the New Testament does the Old, about the Prince of Morocco as a secret counterpoint to Shylock--the Semite prince, cartoonishly accipitrine, flourishing a scimitar-world of infinite princehood--versus the Semite moneylender, ever debased below his pecuniary value, from the people who had their princes taken away long ago. And you can get diverted and watch a smartass Hermione Granger type (In the context of Christian and post-Christian hatred, I use the word "progress" with infinite trepidation, but surely the fact that our generation's reincarnation of the bright spark who always has something up her sleeve is a Mudblood fighting Voldemort and his crew of wizard Nazis, and not an abjurer and defender and reinscriber of racial boundaries around the home, possibly that's a small good thing?) break a bitter old man and clear the road for wedding-ring hijinx--and you know that for the happy crew at the middle, somehow the bill for the uneasy edge that their ringplay has in that extraordinary final scene falls at Shylock's door too. You can do all that but when you stop just watching the sweet show and try to resolve something, close any one of the doors that Shakespeare so suggestively leaves open, you find yourself tying yourself in knots, and getting into some really dark places. Why? Because it doesn't matter how we arrange our interpretations; there is no version of this play where Shylock's not fucked from the beginning, because he's the villain and the groundlings want him to get a kick, and there's no version where he's not the villain--there never will be--why? Because he's the Jew. And suddenly it hits you--it hits generic Gentile me--why the representation of people like you as good and kind that the mainstream culture has always taken for granted is the most essential thing in the world. Because otherwise, on some level, from the earliest age, you're afraid that you're bad. And the rest of it proceeds inexorably outward from that fundamental trauma. Why does Antonio loathe Shylock? He's easy to loathe, because he's never had a role open to him that wasn't loathsome. Why does Shylock loathe Antonio? Because he's just as loathsome, only--roles again--nobody will ever see it, because he's inherited the snowy mantle of lion in winter. It's like how racism isn't wrong because those people we hate didn't have a choice about being hateful; that's not why; it's wrong because we didn't give them a choice. We made them hateful with our stories--and to the degree that they're hateful, it's no wonder, but for the dizzying degree that we've just revealed ourselves as hateful, there's no bond, no pound of flesh. We're just bastards.I saw Merchant the other night, and the dude who played Shylock didn't do this scene this way, but it came to me in the middle with an awful shiver and became, for me, this play's fearsome core: the speech? "Hath not a Jew hands?" Imagine Shylock, not defiant, not roaring, not cold as ice, not looking for pity, but gnawing his fingers, hitting himself in the head, throwing himself against the walls, saying "Is not a Jew bad--bad--BAD--just like a Christian? And will he not revenge, as a way of stopping himself from going home in the mirror and driving a toothpick into his face?" His defiance becomes his heroism, the refusal to make that traumatic break with himself. Antonio's not that strong, and I bet he goes to his guest room at Belmont and hears the young cavorting and looks at the lines on his face and does something horrible to himself. Every time Shylock walks out of that courtroom and we leave him for the winners, it's unforgivable, because behind the scenes somewhere there's the mutilated self, the violated body. Our great art shows us that body--but our greatest art makes us complicit in not wanting to see it, but being aware it's there. This is no happy ending, nor even a clean tragedian sleep of death. This is a bunch of damaged and undermined people walking away to sow the crimes of the future.
bestinbrooklyn reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Yes, it is a great play, with a truly original plot, but what about the social statement? Is the theme of the book anti-semitic? Shylock's actions and demeanors could be seen as evidence of Shakespeare's possible dislike for jews. On the other hand, is the play more a lesson on how revenge, even if prompted by justified feelings of persecution and harassment, is not morally right? Maybe it is about the latter, but the play's language depicts the jewish stereotypes that have been used by anti-semites throughout history. Perhaps it is about both, and the language reserved for Shylock, his dead wife and Rebecca are intended only as a reflection of the period's socially inevitable disposition toward jews. Once again, Shakespeare leaves us with unanswered questions.
scottsummers_1 reviewed this
The Merchant of Venice is a comedy written by the Bard, and concerns the infamous pound of flesh that Shylock the Jew requests from Antonio. Antonio is a merchant who loses his ships and shipment of the high seas. Seeking a monetary loan, he contracts with Shylock the Jew who demands that if the loan is not repaid, he is entitled to a pound of flesh from Antonio. There is one subplot about the marriage of Portia, and the story lines fuse in a comedy that only Shakespeare himself could pen. Some important issues in the text are antisemitism, the collapse of the family, and the desire for social justice. Overall the Merchant of Venice is a fun read, even if it has some racial undertones. For the time in which it was written these undertones were considered comedic, but better lessons can be disseminated by the instructor in the classroom.
lamotm reviewed this
Rated 3/5
1596-7, zeer populair en controversieel; zeer nauwe structuur, Shylock is eerste rijpe figuurVeel proza, moeilijk leesbaar, vrij saai tot de figuur van Shylock ten tonele verschijnt (problematiek van het joodzijn, en van de woeker).Bekend: III,1 (p215): “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”Toch dubbelzinnig: zit vooral in met zijn verloren geld en juwelen, boven zijn dochter Jessica.Finale vanaf IV, thema van recht en rechtvaardigheid.
hahnasay reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Its Shakespeare! What more do you want me to say. He's wonderful!

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