The Merchant of Venice (Annotated with Biography and Critical Essay) William Shakespeare Author
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It is not known when The Merchant of Venice was written although it is known that it was performed at the royal Court in February of 1605. The setting is Venice, Italy.The play begins with Bassanio, a friend of Antonio who is a merchant, asks Antonio for a loan. Bassanio wants to woo Portia, the rich heiress of Belmont. Although Antonio is wealthy, his money is tied up in investments, mostly ships, so he asks Shylock, a rich Jewish moneylender, for the loan. Shylock hates Antonio. He tells him that he will lend him the money, but if the loan is unpaid within three months’ time, he must give Shylock a pound of his flesh. Antonio, wanting to help Bassanio who is besotted with Portia, agrees to this unusual arrangement.This annotated edition includes a biography and critical essay.

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