The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio defaults on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599.

The Merchant of Venice
Title page of the first quarto (1600)
Written byWilliam Shakespeare
Characters
Original languageEnglish
SeriesFirst Folio
SubjectDebt
GenreShakespearean comedy
SettingVenice, 16th century

Although classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and it is best known for Shylock and his famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech on humanity. Also notable is Portia's speech about "the quality of mercy".