By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom, Neil Heims PH.D.

Harold Bloom at the service provider of Venice: "Shylock's prose is Shakespeare's most sensible prior to Falstaff's...His utterances occur a spirit so effective, malign, and damaging as to be unforgettable."

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Extra info for The Merchant of Venice (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)

Example text

The Merchant of Venice in the Eighteenth Century Bassanio: Thou joynst us well: And rightly hast compar’d. Like Venice on a Rock my Friendship stands, Constant and fix’d. ­ My Fortunes are the Bounty of my Friend. Antonio: My Friend’s the noblest Bounty of my Fortune. Sound every Instrument of Musick there To our immortal Friendship. [All drink. ] Bassanio: Let Love be next-what else should Follow Friendship? To Love, and to Love’s Queen, my charming Portia, Fill till the rosy Brim reflects her Lips Then kiss the Symbol round.

His speech shows that in their friend­ ship, Antonio is the giver and Bassanio the taker—a model that will be repeated in Bassanio’s relationship with Portia. It may also suggest to the reader that while Shylock profits from lending money, Bassanio lives by borrowing it. QQQ Act I, i, 177–182 Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea; Neither have I money nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth; Try what my credit can in Venice do. Key Passages in The Merchant of Venice 17 That shall be racked, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.

Picture to yourself a rather stout man with a coarse sallow face, a nose by no means lacking in any one of the three dimensions, a long double chin; as for his mouth, Nature’s knife seems to have slipped when she carved it and slit him open on one side all the way up to the ear. He wears a long black gown, long wide trousers, and a red three-cornered hat. . ’ The two th sounds and the two s sounds, especially the s after the t, which Macklin lisps voluptuously, as though he were savouring the ducats and all that they can buy—these sounds make an impression which nothing can efface.

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