Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" Part 2: Characters and Questions


Part 2 discusses the play’s central characters, their profound bonds of intimacy and animosity, and the effect of money on those bonds. Professor Stephen Greenblatt explores the way that Shylock took hold of Shakespeare’s imagination and how Shakespeare transforms a stereotypically villainous figure into something much larger and more complex. You’ll also discover how Shylock’s fraught experience is echoed in other characters across the play, which looks frankly at the difficulties of friendship and love, even as it offers the traditional satisfactions of comedy.

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