The Merchant of Venice
Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, University of Sussex
The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, but it remains deeply controversial. The text may seem anti-Semitic; yet repeatedly, in performance, it has revealed a contrasting nature. Shylock, though vanquished in the law-court, often triumphs in the theatre. In his intensity he can dominate the play, challenging abrasively its romantic and lyrical affirmations. What results is a bitter-sweet drama.
Though The Merchant of Venice offers some of the traditional pleasures of romantic comedy, it also exposes the operations of prejudice. Thus Shakespeare remains our contemporary.
The Wordsworth Classics’ Shakespeare Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare’s works; the textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal.