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The Merchant of Venice Choice, Hazard and Consequence cover
  • ISBN: 9780312124113
  • ISBN10: 0312124112

The Merchant of Venice Choice, Hazard and Consequence

by Joan Ozark Holmer

  • List Price: $130.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publish date: 03/01/1995
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The interpretative problem that haunts The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare's most performed and currently most controversial comedy, concerns the question of artistic unity: did Shakespeare effectively integrate his multiple plots and apparently divergent worlds of Venice and Belmont? Joan Ozark Holmer examines Shakespeare's indebted and innovative theatrical choices regarding his comedy's structure, language, ideas, and characters. Discovering a tightly knit interplay of contrarieties and correspondences, she argues for the play's unity of dramatic design through its enactment of choices for or against a complex conception of wise love. Historical contexts - aesthetic, theological, and economic - anchor the play's problems of finance and faith that make or break a variety of secular and spiritual bonds. An on-going dialogue with past and present criticism gauges altering perspectives and persuasions in the critics' performance. Because most modern contention centres on the question of anti-Semitism, a consideration of how the play encodes sixteenth-century concepts of Jews illuminates their cultural moment and ours. If Shakespearean drama can be said to be an infinitely varied experience in seeing feelingly, then the play entertains and educates through dilemmas of choice and ironic reversals that expose the human difficulty of knowing and doing well. Presenting possible new sources as well as new evidence from recognised sources, Holmer highlights issues usually underestimated in the play's criticism. Examples include the interrelation of wealth and faith with literal and figurative conversions, the importance of usury, biblical allusion and the instrumentality of stage law. Takingthe recapitulation of the final act for closure of both play and book, she analyses its incorporative design for summing the circle of the play, concluding with an awareness of how this play fits within Shakespeare's canon and at the same time continues to 'exceed account' in its imaginative reckoning.
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0312124112 Crisp, clean, unread hardcover with light shelfwear to the boards, no dust jacket as issued with a publisher's mark to one edge-Nice!