The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was probably written between 1596 and 1598, and was printed with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623. Bassanio, an impoverished gentleman, uses the credit of his friend, the merchant Antonio, to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Antonio pledges to pay Shylock a pound of flesh if he defaults on the loan, which Bassanio will use to woo a rich heiress, Portia. A subplot concerns the elopement of Shylock's daughter Jessica with a Christian, Bassanio's friend Lorenzo. In its focus on love and marriage, the play shares certain concerns with Shakespeare's other comedies. Yet its depiction of the tensions between Jews and Christians in early modern Venice - and its highly dramatic trial scene in Act 4 - create darker currents in the play. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)


Duke of Venice: Filippo Gioachin
Prince of Morocco: Mark F. Smith
Prince of Arragon: David Nicol
Antonio: David O'Connell
Bassanio: mb
Salanio: Rosalind Wills
Salarino: Laurie Anne Walden
Gratiano: David Leeson
Lorenzo: Aaron Elliott
Shylock: etk
Tubal: Carolyn Frances
Launcelot Gobbo: L. Lambert Lawson
Old Gobbo: David Lawrence
Leonardo: Laurie Anne Walden
Balthasar: David Lawrence
Stephano: Lucy Perry
Portia: Arielle Lipshaw
Nerissa: Megan Kunkel
Jessica: Elizabeth Klett
Clerk in court: Ernst Pattynama
Portia's servant: Joshua B. Christensen
Narrator: Dennis Sayers

Genre(s): Comedy

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Dramatis Personae Elizabeth Klett
Play 02 Act I Group 00:25:40
Play 03 Act II Group 00:36:50
Play 04 Act III Group 00:38:35
Play 05 Act IV Group 00:26:29
Play 06 Act V Group 00:16:15