The Merchant of Venice | Literature Criticism Critical Essay by Robert Alter

This literature criticism consists of approximately 16 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 4,748 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Robert Alter

SOURCE: Alter, Robert. “Who Is Shylock?” Commentary 96, no. 1 (1993): 29-34.

In the following essay, Alter focuses on Shylock as the central figure of The Merchant of Venice, contending that the source of the play's enduring popularity can be found in the variety of theatrical interpretations of Shylock’s character.

The Merchant of Venice has inspired a certain ambivalence through much of its four-century history, and that ambivalence is sharply inscribed in the changing interpretations of the play. What is more surprising is that it has been one of Shakespeare's two most popular plays (the second being Hamlet), as the English literary critic John Gross shows through careful documentation in his highly instructive new study, Shylock: A Legend and Its Legacy. Why this should be so is something of a puzzle.

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This section contains 4,748 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert Alter