Merchant of Venice
Despite being written in the late sixteenth century, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice is a timeless piece and provides great themes to be analyzed for purposes of a book report. The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's less popular comedies, having been plagued in recent times with complaints of anti-Semitic themes. The summary of this really has to do with the character Shylock, a caricature of a greedy, Jewish money-lender. The two main characters of the story are a Venetian merchant, Antonio, and his Bassanio, who is in love with a wealthy heiress named Portia. Bassanio wants to propose to Portia but needs money to travel and appear worthy of her. Antonio wants to lend the money to Bassanio but his monies are all tied up in ships that are still at sea. He suggests that Bassanio approach Shylock for the loan and use Anthony's name as the guarantor.
Shylock does not like Antonio because he lends money without seeking interest. Despite this, Shylock agrees to loan Bassanio the money with the condition that if the loan is not re-paid, Shylock is entitled to a (literal) pound of Antonio's flesh. Despite Bassanio's objections, Antonio agrees to the summary of Shylock's conditions. Meanwhile, Portia and her lady-in-waiting, Nerissa are upset to learn the terms of her father's will with regards to her marriage. Her future husband must pick the correct of three caskets in order to marry Portia. Portia is in love with Bassanio and fears he won't pick the correct casket.
Summaries of The Merchant of Venice continue with Shylock's daughter, Jessica, sneaking away to marry Antonio's friend, Lorenzo. Bassanio and his friend, Graziano, are departing to see Portia. Other suitors have arrived in Belmont, meanwhile, to guess at the caskets and win Portia's hand in marriage. The Prince of Morocco chooses the gold...
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