The Merchant of Venice (1596–7)
The Merchant of Venice is best known for its complex and ambiguous portrait of the Jewish moneylender Shylock—and of European anti-Semitism. Fascinating in its engagement with prejudice, the play is also a comedy of cross-dressing and disguise, and a dramatic exploration of justice, mercy, and vengeance.
This volume contains the full text of the play with explanatory footnotes and marginal glosses for contemporary readers. A well-rounded selection of background materials not only illuminates anti-Semitism in early modern England but also provides context for other facets of the play, including its comic plot of love and marriage, its examination of usury and international trade, and its themes of revenge and the law.