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Best of the Web

Best of the Web

Movie or TV Productions

The Merchant of Venice (2004)

A film adaptation with Al Pacino as Shylock.  This film is notable for its sympathetic portrayal of Shylock.

The Maori Merchant of Venice (2002)

A 2002 modern spin on the play, from New Zealand.

Videos

"To you, Antonio, / I owe the most, in money and in love"

Click on this page's "video" link to watch Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) convince his BFF (played by Jeremy Irons) to give him the money he needs to woo Portia in the 2004 film.

Audios

"Jeremy Irons Takes on the Bard's Merchant"

In this NPR interview, Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons discusses The Merchant of Venice and his role as Antonio.

Commentary on The Merchant of Venice

An NPR-style podcast from nextbook.org, "your source for Jewish literature, culture and ideas."  It's a fascinating and insightful look at different ways to interpret The Merchant of Venice, especially with respect to anti-Semitism.  The occasion is a production that looks at Jewish characters from The Merchant of Venice, The Jew of Malta, and Oliver Twist.  Commentators in the play raise questions about ways to interpret The Merchant of Venice as either an anti-Semitic or a compassionate work.  There's also some neat commentary about the play's historical context, and the play in production.

Images

Shylock

Some different images of Shylock, in paintings and photographs, featuring actors like Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and even Jacob Adler in a 1903 production.

The Merchant of Venice in Art

A Frederick Holding watercolor painting from the mid-19th century called Merchant of Venice: IV, 1. The Trial Scene.

Documents

2004 Film Review

A wonderful review of Michael Radford's film version, starring Al Pacino as Shylock, from the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.  Author Kevin Madigan explores the production history of The Merchant of Venice and provides insightful historical tidbits to understand production and reception of the play across times and cultures. A quick, easy, and thought-provoking read.

Theater Review

A New York Times theater review of Gareth Armstrong's 2005 production Shylock.  It's got a neat analysis of the play, especially with reference to other interpretations of the character.  An interesting perspective for anyone interested in the staging of The Merchant of Venice.

Lancelot

Here is a special look at Lancelot, the clown of the play, who is often simply cut out of productions as an irrelevant set-piece.

The Merchant of Venice Online Text

A full-text version of The Merchant of Venice from Open Source Shakespeare. This is great for performers because it lets you see full or truncated lines, cue lines, and lines by actor.

Websites

Background Information

An accessible and insightful look at the background of The Merchant of Venice from PBS.  Shakespearean actor Jami Rogers gives contextual history by exploring the history of Jews in early and Elizabethan England, followed by some interesting analysis.

Internet Shakespeare Editions: The Merchant of Venice

A rich page from the Internet Shakespeare Editions, with beautiful facsimiles of The Merchant of Venice in the Folios. There are links to a list of theatre performances, a couple of essays, and some wonderful insights on the play in production and context.  As usual, pay special attention to the "Life and Times" section for play-specific content, which is full of great info.

Books

Shakespeare and the Jews

You can read much of literary scholar James Shapiro's landmark book online, compliments of Google Books.

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