The Merchant of Venice is most associated not with its titular hero, Antonio, but with the complex, unforgettable figure of the money-lender, Shylock. It is Shylock who finances Antonio's friend Bassanio in his pursuit of the beautiful Portia, and who demands a gruesome bond from the wealthy merchant. Described as a comedy in the First Folio, Shakespeare's explorations of prejudice, duty and the nature of justice make for a far darker play. This Macmillan Collector's Library edition is illustrated throughout by Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897), and includes an introduction by Ned Halley. Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.
A complex and controversial play from the master playwright
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is unknown but is celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be St George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which Shakespeare died. Aged eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. By 1595 he had written five of his history plays, six comedies and his first tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. In all, he wrote thirty-seven plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.