Author(s): William Shakespeare & John Drakakis (Editor)
The Merchant of Venice is perhaps most associated not with its titular hero, Antonio, but with the complex figure of the money lender, Shylock. The play was described as a comedy in the First Folio but its modern audiences find it more problematic to categorise. The vilification of Shylock 'the Jew' can be very uncomfortable for a post-holocaust audience and debates continue as to whether Shakespeare's portrayal of this complex man is sympathetic or anti-semitic. John Drakakis' comprehensive introduction traces the stage history of the figure of the Jew and looks boldly at twenty-first century issues surrounding it. He also explores other themes of the play such as father/daughter relations, the power of money and the forceful character of Portia, to offer readers an energetic, original and revelatory reading of this challenging play.
A major new edition of this much-studied and performed play Comprehensive, illustrated Introduction gives full critical and stage histories of the play and opens up new readings Detailed on-page Commentary and textual notes enhance the reader's understanding
John Drakakis is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland.