The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice

List Price:

School Discount

Discount Price:

Discount Price:

Discount Price:

Discount Price:

To purchase this item, you must first login or register for a new account.

Annotation: Shakespeare readers will further be able to understand and appreciate the text of this play with the help of explanatory footnotes on the language and expressions used and a history of Shakespearean theater and writing.
Catalog Number: #195420
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition Date: 1988
Pages: xxxix, 129 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-553-21299-0 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-5491-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-553-21299-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-5491-5
Dewey: 822.3
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A graphic-novel treatment of Shakespeare that fails miserably where others have succeeded. In this brutally savaged graphic adaptation of the play, the Bard's lines have been transformed into conversational banality ("How is it going, Shylock?"; "That goes for me too!") within often-misplaced dialogue balloons. Astonishingly, there's nary a mention of Jews, leaching all the power from Shylock's "Has not a Jew..." speech ("And why has [Antonio] done this? Do I not have eyes like everyone else..."). Actually, just about all of the set speeches are nearly unrecognizable: "The quality of mercy is not strained" becomes "You don't need to have a reason to show mercy." Visually, the floridly dressed Venetian figures in Kumar's showy illustrations just stand about in panel after panel, gesturing awkwardly and looking past one another's shoulders. Portia's taste for revealing, off-the-shoulder gowns may give adolescent gawkers pause, but as an invitation to read the original or see it performed here's sure proof that all that glisters is not gold. A closing set of riddles is offered as an activity link to Portia's three boxes in the play. Skip. (Graphic adaptation. 12-14)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Kirkus Reviews
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 15,503
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 78046 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:9.0 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q17632
Lexile: 1380L

[Dramatis Personae


ANTONIO, a merchant of Venice

BASSANIO, his friend, suitor to Portia

GRATIANO, a follower of Bassanio, in love with Nerissa

SOLANIO,  friends to Antonio

SALERIO,   and Bassanio

LORENZO, in love with Jessica

LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio

PORTIA, a rich heiress of Belmont

NERISSA, her waiting-gentlewoman

BALTHASAR, servant to Portia

STEPHANO, servant to Portia

THE PRINCE OF MOROCCO, suitor to Portia

THE PRINCE OF ARAGON, suitor to Portia


SHYLOCK, a rich Jew

JESSICA, his daughter

TUBAL, a Jew, Shylock's friend

LANCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock and then to Bassanio

OLD GOBBO, Lancelot's father

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Jailor, Servants to Portia, and other Attendants

Scene: Partly at Venice and partly at Belmont,

the seat of Portia]

1.1. Location: A street in Venice.

1In sooth Truly.   sad morose, dismal-looking.

5am to learn have yet to learn

6such . . . of me such sadness makes me so distracted, lacking in good sense

9argosies large merchant ships. (So named from Ragusa, the modern city of Dubrovnik.)   portly majestic

10signors gentlemen.   flood sea

11pageants mobile stages used in plays or processions

12overpeer look down upon

13curtsy i.e., bob up and down, or lower topsails in token of respect (reverence)

14woven wings canvas sails.

15venture forth investment at risk

17still continually

19roads anchorages, open harbors

23blow . . . ague i.e., start me shivering

26flats shoals

[1.1] A Enter Antonio, Salerio, and Solanio.


In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.1

It wearies me, you say it wearies you;

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,

What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,

I am to learn;5

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me6

That I have much ado to know myself.


Your mind is tossing on the ocean,

There where your argosies with portly sail,9

Like signors and rich burghers on the flood,10

Or as it were the pageants of the sea,11

Do overpeer the petty traffickers12

That curtsy to them, do them reverence,13

As they fly by them with their woven wings.14


Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,15

The better part of my affections would

Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still17

Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads;19

And every object that might make me fear

Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt

Would make me sad.

SALERIO         My wind cooling my broth

Would blow me to an ague when I thought23

What harm a wind too great might do at sea.

I should not see the sandy hourglass run

But I should think of shallows and of flats,26

27Andrew name of a ship. (Perhaps after the St. Andrew, a Spanish galleon captured at Cadiz in 1596.)

28Vailing lowering. (Usually as a sign of submission.) high-top topmast

29burial burial place.

31bethink me straight be put in mind immediately

35even now a short while ago.   this i.e., the cargo of spices and silks

38bechanced having happened

42bottom ship's hold

44Upon . . . year i.e., risked upon the chance of the present year.

50two-headed Janus a Roman god of all beginnings, represented by a figure with two faces

51framed fashioned

52peep . . . eyes i.e., look with eyes narrowed by laughter

53at a bagpiper i.e., even at a bagpiper, whose music was regarded as melancholic

54other others.   vinegar aspect sour, sullen looks

56Nestor venerable senior officer in the Iliad, noted for gravity

And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand,27

Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs28

To kiss her burial. Should I go to church29

And see the holy edifice of stone

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks31

Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side,

Would scatter all her spices on the stream,

Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,

And, in a word, but even now worth this,35

And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought

To think on this, and shall I lack the thought

That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?38

But tell not me. I know Antonio

Is sad to think upon his merchandise.


Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it,

My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,42

Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate

Upon the fortune of this present year.44

Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.


Why then, you are in love.

ANTONIO         Fie, fie!


Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad

Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easy

For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry

Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed


Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:51

Some that will evermore peep through their eyes52

And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper,53

And other of such vinegar aspect54

That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile

Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.56

61prevented forestalled

64th'occasion the opportunity

66laugh i.e., be merry together.

67strange distant.   Must it be so? Must you go? or, Must you show reserve?

68We'll . . . yours We'll adjust our spare time to accommodate your schedule.

74respect . . . world concern for worldly affairs of business.

Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.

Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,

Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well.

We leave you now with better company.


I would have stayed till I had made you merry,

If worthier friends had not prevented me.61


Your worth is very dear in my regard.

I take it your own business calls on you,

And you embrace th'occasion to depart.64

SALERIO  Good morrow, my good lords.


Good signors both, when shall we laugh? Say,


You grow exceeding strange. Must it be so?67


We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.68

Exeunt Salerio and Solanio.


My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,

We two will leave you, but at dinnertime,

I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.

BASSANIO  I will not fail you.


You look not well, Signor Antonio.

You have too much respect upon the world.74

They lose it that do buy it with much care.

Believe me, you are marvelously changed.


I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano--

A stage where every man must play a part,

And mine a sad one.

gratianoLet me play the fool.

81heat with wine (The liver was regarded as the seat of the passions and wine as an agency for inflaming them.)

82mortifying penitential and deadly. (Sighs were thought to cost the heart a drop of blood.)

84in alabaster i.e., in a stone effigy upon a tomb.

85jaundice (Regarded as arising from the effects of too much choler or yellow bile, one of the four humors, in the blood.)

89cream and mantle become covered with scum, i.e., acquire a lifeless, stiff expression.   standing stagnant

90-2 And . . . conceit and who maintain a willful silence in order to acquire a reputation for gravity and deep thought

93As . . . say as if to say

94let . . . bark i.e., let no creature dare to interrupt me.

98-9 would . . . fools i.e., would virtually condemn their hearers into calling them fools. (Compare Matthew 5:22, in which anyone calling another a fool is threatened with damnation.)

101-2 fish . . . opinion i.e., don't go fishing for a reputation of being wise, using your melancholy silence as the bait to fool people. (Gudgeon, a small fish, was thought of as a type of gullibility.)

106dumb mute, speechless

108keep if you keep

110for this gear in view of what you say.

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,

And let my liver rather heat with wine81

Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.82

Why should a man whose blood is warm within

Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?84

Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice85

By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio--

I love thee, and 'tis my love that speaks--

There are a sort of men whose visages

Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,89

And do a willful stillness entertain90

With purpose to be dressed in an opinion91

Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,92

As who should say, "I am Sir Oracle,93

And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!"94

Oh, my Antonio, I do know of these

That therefore only are reputed wise

For saying nothing, when, I am very sure,

If they should speak, would almost damn those ears98

Which, hearing them, would call their brothers


I'll tell thee more of this another time.

But fish not with this melancholy bait101

For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.--102

Come, good Lorenzo.--Fare ye well awhile.

I'll end my exhortation after dinner.

LORENZO [to Antonio and Bassanio]

Well, we will leave you then till dinnertime.

I must be one of these same dumb wise men,106

For Gratiano never lets me speak.


Well, keep me company but two years more,108

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own



Fare you well. I'll grow a talker for this gear.110

112neat's ox's.   not vendible i.e., not yet salable in the marriage market.

113Is . . . now? i.e., Was all that talk about anything?

115reasons reasonable ideas

119the same i.e., the one

124By . . . port by showing a somewhat more lavish style of living

125grant continuance allow to continue.

126-7 make . . . rate complain at being cut back from such a high style of living

128to . . . off honorably to extricate myself

129time youthful lifetime

130gaged pledged, in pawn.

132warranty authorization

133unburden disclose

136-7 if . . . honor if it looks honorable, as your conduct has always done


Thanks, i'faith, for silence is only commendable

In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible.112

Exeunt [Gratiano and Lorenzo].

ANTONIO  Is that anything now?113

BASSANIO  Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,

more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as  115

two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you

shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you

have them they are not worth the search.


Well, tell me now what lady is the same119

To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,

That you today promised to tell me of.


'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,

How much I have disabled mine estate

By something showing a more swelling port124

Than my faint means would grant continuance.125

Nor do I now make moan to be abridged126

From such a noble rate; but my chief care127

Is to come fairly off from the great debts128

Wherein my time, something too prodigal,129

Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,130

I owe the most, in money and in love,

And from your love I have a warranty132

To unburden all my plots and purposes133

How to get clear of all the debts I owe.


I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;

And if it stand, as you yourself still do,136

Within the eye of honor, be assured137

My purse, my person, my extremest means

Lie all unlocked to your occasions.

140shaft arrow

141his its.   selfsame flight same kind and range

142advisd careful

143forth out.   adventuring risking

145innocence ingenuousness, sincerity.

148self same

150or either

151hazard that which was risked

152rest remain

153spend but time only waste time

154To . . . circumstance i.e., in not asking plainly what you want. (Circumstance here means "circumlocution.")

156In . . . uttermost in showing any doubt of my intention to do all I can

160prest ready

161richly left left a large fortune (by her father's will)

163Sometimes Once

165-6 nothing undervalued To of no less worth than

166Portia (The same Portia as in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.)

171Colchis' (Jason adventured for the golden fleece in the land of Colchis, on the Black Sea.)   strand shore


In my schooldays, when I had lost one shaft,140

I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight141

The selfsame way with more advised watch142

To find the other forth, and by adventuring both143

I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof

Because what follows is pure innocence.145

I owe you much, and, like a willful youth,

That which I owe is lost; but if you please

To shoot another arrow that self way148

Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,

As I will watch the aim, or to find both150

Or bring your latter hazard back again151

And thankfully rest debtor for the first.152


You know me well, and herein spend but time153

To wind about my love with circumstance;154

And out of doubt you do me now more wrong

In making question of my uttermost156

Than if you had made waste of all I have.

Then do but say to me what I should do

That in your knowledge may by me be done,

And I am prest unto it. Therefore speak.160


In Belmont is a lady richly left;161

And she is fair and, fairer than that word,

Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes163

I did receive fair speechless messages.

Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued165

To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.166

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,

For the four winds blow in from every coast

Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks

Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchis' strand,171

And many Jasons come in quest of her.

175presages i.e., that presages    thrift profit and good fortune

178commodity merchandise

179a present sum ready money.

181racked stretched

183presently immediately

184no question make have no doubt

185of my trust on the basis of my credit as a merchant. sake i.e., personal sake.

1.2. Location: Belmont. Portia's house.

1troth faith

3would be would have reason to be (weary)

5surfeit overindulge

7mean small. (With a pun; see next note.)

7-8 in the mean having neither too much nor too little.

8comes sooner by acquires sooner

9competency modest means

10sentences maxims.   pronounced delivered.

14divine clergyman

18blood (Thought of as a chief agent of the passions, which in turn were regarded as the enemies of reason.)

Oh, my Antonio, had I but the means

To hold a rival place with one of them,

I have a mind presages me such thrift175

That I should questionless be fortunate.


Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;

Neither have I money nor commodity178

To raise a present sum. Therefore go forth.179

Try what my credit can in Venice do;

That shall be racked even to the uttermost181

To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.

Go presently inquire, and so will I,183

Where money is, and I no question make184

To have it of my trust or for my sake.Exeunt. 185

[1.2] A Enter Portia with her waiting woman, Nerissa.

PORTIA  By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary   1

Excerpted from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

This is one of Shakespeare’s darkest comedies, for the romantic story of a young man, Bassanio, who has squandered his fortune and must borrow money to woo the wealthy lady he loves is set against the more disturbing story of the Jewish moneylender Shylock and his demand for the “pound of flesh” owed him by the Venetian merchant, Antonio. Here pathos and farce combine with moral complexity and romantic entanglement to display the extraordinary power and range of Shakespeare at his best.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

*Prices subject to change without notice and listed in US dollars.
Perma-Bound bindings are unconditionally guaranteed (excludes textbook rebinding).
Paperbacks are not guaranteed.
Please Note: All Digital Material Sales Final.