The Merchant of Venice ★★★☆½

merchantofvenice (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Merchant of Venice
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 140
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A merchant of Venice, Merchantio has all his funds tied up in ships out at sea. His friend, Romancio, needs to borrow money to woo a rich woman from another town. Merchantio allows Romancio to stretch his credit to the limit with a moneylender named Shylock. Shylock hates Merchantio and makes part of the credit deal that if Merchantio defaults Shylock gets to cut off a pound of flesh.

Shylock’s daughter runs off with a friend of Merchantio’s and takes a small fortune with her. Shylock doesn’t know which he misses more.

Things go well for Romancio. The woman’s father had setup a riddle to win her hand. If a suitor guessed wrong, he couldn’t tell anyone what he had guessed AND he had to remain single for the rest of his life. Romancio guesses right and marries the woman. His friend, Friendo, then marries the maid servant.

Things go bad for Merchantio and all his ships are sunk, pirated or go missing. Shylock claims the Law and says he’ll sue Venice and ruin her international reputation of Law Abidingness if the Duke of Venice won’t fulfill the law.

Romancio and Friendio run back to Venice with treble the amount owed so buy back Merchantio’s life. Unknown to them, their wives follow, dressed up as young men and claiming to be the friends of a very important Judge. The Duke of Venice brings the case before them. Shylock turns down the treble payment and wants his pound of flesh.

Romancio’s wife decides in his favor and Shylock rejoices. Then she drops the bombshell that he can only take a pound of flesh, no blood, nothing. If he does so and Merchantio dies, then Shylock will die and all his estates go to the City of Venice. The Duke rules that if Shylock won’t take his pound of flesh, the only way to avoid the punishment is to convert to Christianity and give half his estates away and lots of it to his estranged daughter. Everyone but Shylock is happy.

Then the wives decide to be clever and cause problems for their husbands. They beg, as the young men, to have some rings from Romancio and Friendio, who cave like $3 bills. Then the wives meet their husbands at home and demand to see the rings. Upon not seeing them, the wives claim they will sleep with whoever has the rings and follow that up immediately that it has already happened. Romancio and Friendio moan about being cuckolds and then the wives reveal the truth, everyone laughs and goes into a feast.

 

My Thoughts:

I was really enjoying this up until the end. I don’t think I’m going to ever find amusing made up drama between husbands and wives. Also, the names completely eluded me 5minutes after I finished the book, hence my little nicknames there.

There were boatloads of quotes that lots of people today know. When people here them, they know they’re from Shakespeare even if they have no idea which play. It made me wonder why certain quotes have attained that status and not others. Not all of them are epic, or particularly wise or stand out above other bits, as far as I can see. Just rather random.

I did laugh when Shylock’s daughter ran off and became a “Christian”. Shylock is bemoaning his loss of ducats and jewels and is complaining to a non-Jew about it. The non-jew starts complaining about how the price of pork is now going to rise because there is another pork eater (because obviously it follows that to show one is a Christian one must eat pork). It was so silly and ridiculous that I was just grinning through the whole back and forth.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

12 thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice ★★★☆½

  1. YouKneeK says:

    I’ve wondered the same about how some Shakespeare quotes gained such popularity. Maybe some of the original actors for the plays influenced it in part? Maybe the way they delivered the lines appealed to the audience so much that they quoted them afterward in much the same way some people quote their favorite movie lines today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      “Something” definitely influenced things, I just have no idea what. I wonder if a Shakespeare scholar could answer that question or if it goes even deeper than just knowledge.
      Well, one question I’ll never know the answer to 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t say I’m a fan of this play- but I did like your nicknames

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I remember you stating before that this wasn’t a play you enjoyed. I had fun coming up with the nicknames, as I just couldn’t remember who was who. Much easier my way 🙂

      Like

  3. Nicole says:

    I haven’t read this one yet, but putting a source to the Shakespearean quotes is one of the reasons I want to read the Complete Works. Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Thank you.
      I have to admit, there are so many quotes from his plays that I don’t even bother trying to remember which quote comes from which play. I’m just happy if I can say, authoritatively, “That quote comes from Shakespeare” (with the “you uneducated dolt” being strongly implied 😉 )

      Like

  4. Congratulations on your choice of nicknames for the characters! They sound quite Shakespearian! 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Matt Ries says:

    I gave this one only 2.5*, mainly because of the plot holes…so many plot holes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I don’t even bother thinking like that because yeah, it would drive me crazy otherwise. I am coming to view these Shakespeare reads as something other than books, if that makes any sense. Obviously, they are plays, but even still, I’m coming to think of my reading time as something different. I can’t really articulate at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How do you pick your next Shakespeares? Is it part of a collection and you’re just following the order given?

    Liked by 1 person

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