With Shylock's pound of flesh and Portia's golden ring, The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's most controversial, disturbing and unforgettable plays.
Combining accessible commentary with a range of reprinted materials, S. P. Cerasano:
*explores the contexts of the play, including early modern images of Venice, the commercialism of the play, Shakespeare's theatre and London, and images of Jewishness
*samples modern criticism of Shakespeare's Merchant, grouped into sections on The Economic Framework, Choosing and Risking, and Shylock and Other Strangers
*offers an invaluable discussion of the play in performance, considering crucial staging issues and changing interpretations of the roles of Portia and Shylock
*closely examines key passages of the work, providing both commentary and extensively annotated sections of play text
*prepares readers for additional study of the play with a useful guide to further reading.
Assuming no prior knowledge of the play, this sourcebook is the essential guide to one of the most haunting works of English drama.