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
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Format: Digital Edition
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.
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.