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Shakespeare died in 1616 on his 52nd birthday. He is known the world over as the greatest  ever.

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William Shakespeare was born in Stratford upon Avon in 1564. His father was a glove merchant and a prominent local dignitary. William, one of eight children, was the oldest son. He was probably educated at the local grammar school.

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SHYLOCK A Jewish Money-Lender Richard Brown

The Merchant of Venice is also a love story: Portia and Bassanio, Nerissa and Gratiano, Jessica and Lorenzo, …… and poor Antonio; but even the beautiful Portia is scathing about many foreigners in her reviews of her suitors – in particular the Prince of Morocco.

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Portia is one of the most prominent and appealing of the heroines in Shakespeare's mature romantic comedies. She is beautiful, gracious, rich, intelligent, and quick-witted, with high standards for her potential romantic partners. She obeys her father's will, while steadfastly seeking to obtain Bassanio. She demonstrates tact to the Princes of Morocco and Aragon, who unsuccessfully seek her hand. In the court scenes, Portia finds a technicality in the bond, thereby outwitting and saving Antonio's life when everyone else fails. Yet, she also shows immense injustice and cruelty towards the figure of Shylock and those who are sympathetic with Shylock see her as the of blunt, barbaric, Christian primitivism. It is Portia who delivers in :

PORTIA An Heiress From Belmont Lynne Livingstone

LORENZO Friend Of Bassanio & Jessica’s Love Andy Wilkes

To put The Merchant of Venice into perspective, you'll need to know a little about William Shakespeare, the city of Venice during the 16th century, and attitudes towards Jews in Shakespeare's England.

SALARINO Friends Of Antonio Phil Leverett

Portia's nature has received some negative critiques. The Jewish writer dubbed her a "cold, snobbish little bitch" in a video he made about anti-Semitism against Shylock the moneylender.

SALANIO Friends Of Antonio James Wetherill

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LAUNCELOT Shylock/Bassanio’s Servant Ray Livermore

Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice play. Directed 2015 by Polly Findlay at Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Stars Makram J. Khoury (Shylock), Patsy Ferran (Portia), Nadia Albina (Nerissa), Scarlett Brookes (Jessica), Owen Findlay (Salerio), Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (Bassanio), David Ajao (Jailer), Jamie Ballard (Antonio), James Corrigan (Lorenzo), Eva Feiler (Citizen of Venice), Guy Hughes (Leonardo/Servant), Gwilym Lloyd (Tubal), Rina Mahoney (Portia's Servant/Duke on Venice), Ken Nwosu (Gratiano/Morocco), Brian Protheroe (Aragon), Jay Saighal (Solanio), and Tim Samuels (Launcelot Gobbo). Set design by Johannes Schütz; costume design by Anette Guther; lighting by Peter Mumford; music by Morc Tritschler; sound by Gareth Fry; movement by Aline David; fights by Bret Yount. Directed for the screen by Robin Lough; produced by John Wyver. Released 2016, this disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade:

TUBAL Jewish Money-Lender Peter Wyborn

André Tchaikowsky The Merchant of Venice opera to a libretto by John O'Brien. Directed 2013 (indoors) by Keith Warner at the Bregenz Festival. Stars Richard Angas (Duke of Venice), Christopher Ainslie (Antonio), Charles Workman (Bassanio), Adrian Clarke (Salerio), Norman Patzke (Solanio), David Stout (Gratiano), Jason Bridges (Lorenzo), Adrian Eröd (Shylock), Kathryn Lewek (Jessica), Magdalena Anna Hofmann (Portia), Verena Gunz (Nerissa), Hanna Herfurtner (A Boy), Juliusz Kubiak (Prince of Aragon), and Elliot Lebogang Mohlamme (Prince of Morocco). Erik Nielsen conducts the Wiener Symphoniker and the Prague Philharmonic Choir (Chorus Master Lukáš Vasilek). Set and costume design by Ashley Martin-Davis; lighting design by Davy Cunningham; movement direction by Michael Barry; associate direction by Amy Lane; video direction by Felix Breisach. Sung in English. Released 2014, this disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade: