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Dramatic GeographyRomance, Intertheatricality, and Cultural Encounter in Early Modern Mediterranean Drama$
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Laurence Publicover

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198806813

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198806813.001.0001

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Re-Enchanting the Mediterranean

Re-Enchanting the Mediterranean

Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

(p.118) 6 Re-Enchanting the Mediterranean
Dramatic Geography

Laurence Publicover

Oxford University Press

Situating its analysis of The Merchant of Venice within recent critical discussions over Shakespeare’s place within a wider early modern dramatic culture, this chapter reads the play as a response to Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta. It focuses on how Marlowe’s great merchant, Barabas, is split by Shakespeare into two characters, Shylock and Antonio, who make money in different ways. By linking commercial ventures to romance notions of adventure, it argues, The Merchant of Venice manages to valorize Antonio’s business model while demonizing Shylock’s. Finally, the chapter asks whether the ‘romancing’ of Mediterranean commerce is something undertaken by the play itself, or by its Venetian characters.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, intertheatricality, commerce, romance, usury

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