12.14.2010

45 Books



Book 31

The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare


For being a former English literature major, my knowledge and familiarity of/with Shakespeare is embarrassingly small. I've read only a few of the plays (and that's if I count Jr. High English courses). As a lover of literature, of history and etymology it seems wrong to have only memorized titles and a few essential facts about the catalog that essentially begins the Western Cannon of literature. The funny thing is, is that I actually enjoy Shakespeare. Seriously. I don't really know what it is that has placed a mental block on my brain when it comes to reading plays, I suppose it sounds more tedious than it actually is. Slowly but surely I'd like to work toward completing the complete works.The Merchant of Venice is a play that had mostly escaped my attention. It was the revival of the play in New York that brought it to the forefront as something to read. Written as one of the early comedies, Merchant of Venice has stirred much debate as to whether it can be read as a comedy or if it's invariably a tragedy as it's major themes are so antisemitic. I read Shylock as a sympathetic character, his 'pound of flesh' monologue was so arresting and eloquent, noted as one of Shakespeare's finest. The language throughout, in fact, is very powerful. I'm much interested in seeing a few adaptations.

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