Boekverslag: The Merchant of Venice
Author: William Shakespeare (Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere)
Relevant information on author's life:
There's only little information on William Shakespeare's life because he lives four centuries ago.
William Shakespeare was born on 23rd April 1564 and he was baptized three days later. Shakespeare only attended the local Grammar School, but he did not get a university education. First he was a country schoolmaster. In 1592 William Shakespeare became a playwright. He was a leading member of the Lord Chamberlain's Company, which became the King's Men on the accession of James I in 1603. In 1582, Shakespeare married with Anne Hathaway. They got two daughters and a son. William Shakespeare makes a career in London, but at the end of his life, Shakespeare returned to Stratford. He died on 23rd April 1616 (his 52nd birthday!).
1) It's a play, so the story is told by the characters and a narrator.
2) Only a couple of days pass between the beginning and the end of the story.
3) Main characters:
- Antonio A(/THE) merchant of Venice. The story is about him because he promises to give a pound of his flesh if he doesn't pay back Shylock, which he can't. Antonio's a Christian.
- Bassanio Antonio's friend. Suitor to Portia. He asks Antonio for 3000 ducats to visit Portia.
- Gratiano Friend to Antonio and Bassanio. He accompanies Bassanio at his visit to Portia, where he falls in love with Nerissa.
- Lorenzo In love with Jessica. He's a Christian and Jessica's Jewish, so her father, Shylock, doesn't like their relation.
- Shylock A Jew. Father to Jessica. He doesn't like Christians, so he wants Antonio's flesh more than the 3000 ducats.
- Portia She lives in belmont, she has many suitors, but they all fail at the test with caskets.
- Nerissa Waiting-maid to Portia. She's going to marry Gratiano.
- Jessica Daughter to Shylock, in love with Lorenzo.
4) The main theme's in the book are love and money.
5) This play is a love-story.
6) The story takes place in the streets of Venice, in front of Shylock's house, at Portia's house in Belmont and at the court of Venice. The story takes place in the 16th century.
7) It has a happy ending because Antonio doesn't have to offer a pound of his flesh and Portia and Bassanio, and Nerissa and Gratiano are going to marry.
8) The title The merchant of Venice comes from Antonio, a merchant of Venice. Venice has got many great, rich merchants this time.
9) There aren't any biographical elements in the story.
10) I liked the book to read. It wasn't very difficult to read, only the 'strange' Old-English was difficult when I started to read, but I get used to it, so it wasn't very difficult after all.
11) The summary of the book:
In the first act, Antonio is introduced as a Merchant of Venice. A friend of him, Bassanio, desperately needs money because all of his money is on his ships and he wants to go to Belmont to visit the woman of his dreams, Portia. Therefore he goes to Antonio to ask if he is willing to go to Shylock and ask him if he can have 3000 ducats. Antonio agrees and goes to Shylock and explains that he has to pay it back within 3 months. If he doesn't do this, he may cut one pound of his fair flesh. Portia and Nerissa are talking about Portia's suitors, but she rejects them all.
Men from all over the world travel to Belmont, to Portia. He who chooses out of three offered caskets, made of gold, silver and leather, the one that holds her portrait, may marry her. But then Bassanio comes.
Shylock is left bewailing the loss of his ducats and his daughter that has run away with Lorenzo and the treasure. Shylock doesn't like this at all because he really doesn't like the Christians and Lorenzo is a Christian.
Jessica is now together with Lorenzo. She is a Jew and he's a Christian. Jessica is embarrassed to be a Jew is planning to change religion for Lorenzo. Shylock is still looking for them and is very mad when he finds out that she has sold a ring that was given to Shylock by his wife, for a monkey.
Bassanio, at Portia's house, is picking one of the caskets and takes the correct one; the leather casket. He may now marry Portia. Because Antonio hasn't paid back the 3000 ducats he had lend from Shylock, Shylock may have one pound of his fair flesh. Shylock takes it to court.
Still, in the court of law, Portia and Nerissa have disguised themselves as doctor and clerk. Shylock wants his revenge on the Christians because they treat him like a dog and spit on him. He wants his bond and the one pound of the flesh of Antonio. Portia very smartly knows how to trick him by saying that it doesn't say in the bond that any blood can be spilt and that he has to take exactly one pound of the flesh. No more and no less. Shylock has to give up because he can't deny this. Antonio is safe! Bassanio has given the ring that he had got from Portia to the doctor and Gratiano has given the ring that he had got from Nerissa to the clerk. They had said to their women that they would never give the rings away.
Jessica and Lorenzo are romantically together and they are telling each other all these romantic things how much they love each other accompanied by music. Then Portia, Nerissa, Bassanio, Antonio and Gratiano come by. Nerissa and Gratiano start having a fight about the ring that he had given to the clerk (Nerissa was the clerk). The same is for Portia and Bassanio who says he had lost the ring but later says he had given it to the doctor (who was Portia). Then the two women explain that they were the doctor and the clerk and so everything had a happy ending.
Shakespeare wordt geboren in 1564 in de Engelse plaats Stratford-upon-Avon. We weten dat hij op 26 april wordt gedoopt, zodat 23 april zijn waarschijnlijke geboortedatum is. Het was immers gebruikelijk in die tijd om een kind drie dagen na de geboorte te dopen. Hij trouwt met Anne Hathaway in 1582, waarschijnlijk naar aanleiding van een zwangerschap. Er is uit deze tijd verder weinig van hem bekend. Dit verandert vanaf het moment dat hij opduikt in de theaters van Londen. Ongeveer in 1588 arriveerde hij in Londen en het duurde vier jaar voordat hij als acteur en als schrijver succes kreeg. Shakespeare wordt vader van twee dochters, Susanna en Judith, en een zoon Hamnet.
- The Merchant of Venice
- William Shakespeare
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