This was actually an amusing little play with some provocative ideas. The play tells the story of a Venetian merchant named Antonio, who borrows money from a Jewish moneylender named Shylock in order to help his friend Bassanio win the heart of a wealthy heiress named Portia.
The play explores many themes and issues, like love, friendship, betrayal, justice, and prejudice. Apparently, there is still an ongoing debate about whether or not the play is anti-Jewish, but I honestly did not read it that way. Shylock, the play’s primary antagonist, is portrayed as a stereotypical Jewish moneylender seeking revenge against the Christian characters who mistreat him, and although you are set up to loathe him at the start of the play, you end up seeing him as the hero rather than the villain. His epic speech was the turning point for me, my God, what writing! Slowly, but surely, you realize that the “good” Christian characters are just as greedy and vengeful as the “villainous” Jewish character, and so I feel that Shakespeare is certainly giving us a deeper idea here.
Overall, “The Merchant of Venice” is a complex play that is thought-provoking and engaging. I also love it when Willy gives us a gender swap, even if it was done in a silly way. I definitely recommend giving it a go.