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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare
Further Study

Companion Texts

Further Study Companion Texts

Virtual Jewish World: Venice Italy


This encyclopedic text gives a history of the Jewish people in Venice, Italy. It includes sections on early history, the ghetto, emancipation, and Venice today, including Jewish historical sites that tourist may visit.

Patrick Stewart on Shylock


Stewart discusses playing Shylock in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1978 production of Merchant of Venice. He demonstrates three different ways an actor might interpret the character.

“49 Minutes with Al Pacino”


Al Pacino discusses playing Shylock in the 2004 movie version of the play and the 2010 Public Theatre production of Shakespeare in the park and how he approached the character’s contentious history.

Maggie Smith as Portia


Dame Maggie Smith performs Portia’s “quality of mercy” speech in the 1972 BBC “Play of the Month” filmed production of The Merchant of Venice.

“Four Hundred Years Later, Scholars Still Debate Whether Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is Anti-Semitic”


Smithsonian Magazine chronicles the debate of anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice, including the history of the play in Nazi Germany and an analysis of Shylock’s most humanizing lines.

The Merchant of Venice: Images


The Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection of digitized images of 18th, 19th, and 20th art, actor photos, costume sketches and more related to The Merchant of Venice.