The Merchant of Venice

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Antony Sher
  • 2 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, agrees to lend Antonio, a Venetian merchant, three thousand ducats so that his friend Bassanio can afford to court his love, Portia. However, Shylock has one condition: Should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio's own flesh.
Meanwhile in Belmont, according to the terms of her father's will, Portia's many suitors must choose correctly from three caskets. Bassanio arrives at Portia's estate and they declare their love for one another before he picks the correct casket. Antonio falls into bad fortune and finds he cannot repay Shylock: A dramatic trial ensues to decide his fate.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very worthy, and rather dull

This begins well- there is music, backround noises... it sounded good; Roger Allam was a satisfactory Antonio and the Bassiano had almost enough charm... But then it never boiled- never even heated up

The first warning that this was not going to be a fun spin through a Shakespeare comedy was when Shylock first spoke- for Shylock in this version is a very, very, very serious charecter. Not a single one of his jokes is played for a laugh- from first to last he is stern, sober and completely unlovable- he has no shades or moods- he is always grim and revengeful- his charecter never grows and he never grows in the least sympathetic- or in the least interesting. By producing such a PC Shylock they rip the living heart out of the play.

The next crashing failure was the clown, Launcelot- I don't think they were even trying to be funny. It seemed as if NAXOS had decided that this was a nasty, anti-semitic play and though they would record it faithfully, yet noone was to laugh in the process.

Emma Fielding as Portia broke the rule and did manage to sound amused, even manage a little laugh-but I don't think that she and her Bassiano even managed to convince themselves that they were in love, let alone the listener...

And so it dragged on, there was never any chemisty, never any real feeling, the court scene had no tension... No charecterisation- Lorenzo, Gratiano, Salerno etc. all remained interchangeable young men to the end.

In short it is just a faithful reading, the actors never really seemed 'off the book.'
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- Philip

Beautiful story, beautifully told

This is one of my favourite plays and it was beautifully executed here. the performance did not detract from the story.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 30-10-2008
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks