In Shakespeare's most controversial play, the opposing values of justice and mercy must be resolved. Antonio promises money to help his friend Bassanio woo Portia. He borrows the sum needed from the cruel Shylock, but there will be a dreadful penalty if the loan is not repaid.
The golden world of Portia's Belmont calls forth some of Shakespeare's most lyrical love poetry. But the dark shadow of Shylock is never far from the heart of this brilliant comedy as it moves toward its courtroom climax.
Portia is played by Hadyn Gwynne and Shylock by Trevor Peacock. Julian Rhind-Tutt is Bassanio, and Bill Nighy is Antonio.
Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and, overall, the ensemble reads the play very well; I especially liked Trevor Peacock as Shylock. I did find Launcelot's narration a bit over the top, but hearing the play is the next best thing to seeing it performed. The Merchant Of Venice is not performed as much as it used to be because of its supposedly anti-Semitic plot. However, Shakespeare gives Shylock one of the most dramatic and telling speeches in the play "...If You prick us, do we not bleed?...etc. As with many of his plays, Shakespeare's words and actions have deeper meanings. A play to hear (and see) many times.
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