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The Merchant of Venice

Interpretations of the dramatic play is very personal, and people's reactions can be strikingly different.

Be aware of your feelings toward the main characters, Antonio and Shylock, Bassanio and Portia, Jessica and Lorenzo. Pay close attention to their behavior and their attitude toward one another; bring key quotes  (and citing) to explain your feelings. It is perfectly fine if your feelings change as you go on watching the play.

The Structure of the play:

Act I:  The Agreement

1.   Act I, Scene i. First 7 lines.  Antonio is depressed but doesn't know why. He admits that "I have much ado to know myself".

His friend, Bassanio, a young nobleman, admits to having many debts. His solution is to marry a rich lady from Belmont.

2.   Act I, Scene iii. The agreement.

3.   Act III, Scene I:  Shylock's explains his drive for revenge, a very famous "I am a Jew" monologue. Just replace the word "Jew" by the word "Muslim", or "Black" to understand the deep and universal meaning of this powerful text.

Read to the end of the scene, about Jessica, Shylock's daughter.

4.   Act III, Scene iii. Shylock: "I'll have my bond".

5.   Act IV:  The Trial

*****After watching the play, or rather the movie made of the play,  read the short excerpts mentioned above, and pick the strongest quotes****

When you quote, you have to introduce the quote (by using signal phrases.) For example:   Shylock agrees to lend Antonio the money he needed to help Bassanio, on condition that if Antonio does not return the money on time, he will lose "equal pound of…[his]  fair flesh, to be cut off… (Act I, scene iii)

Each quote must be followed by citing. For example: Act I, Scene ii, p 9)

****About 500 words (quotes not included) ******

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