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THE

DRAMATIC WORKS

OF

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.

The dramatic works of Shakspeare, with notes original and selected. By Samuel Weller Singer, in 10 volumes small octavo.

Merry

Vol. I. Auch unter dem besondern Titel:
Tempest. Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Wives of Windsor. Twelfth Night. With

notes.

Vol. II.

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Measure for Measure.
Midsummer-Night's Dream. Love's Labour's lost.

Much Ado about Nothing.

Vol. III.

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Troilus and

Timon of Athens. Coriolanus. Julius Caesar.
Antony and Cleopatra.

Vol. VIII.

Vol. IX.

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In Bezug auf vorliegende Ausgabe von Shakspeare, welche durch die beigegebenen Erklärungen als Hülfsmittel beim Sprachunterricht vorzüglich geeignet ist, bezeichnet die Verlagshandlung einige für den Käufer vortheilhafte Bedingungen, welche alle mit derselben in Verbindung stehenden Buchhandlungen gewähren:

a) Jeder Band ist einzeln, unabhängig vom Ganzen, mit besonderm Titel zu haben.

b) Auf je fünf Bände oder fünf. Exemplare eines Bandes wird 1 frei gegeben.

THE

DRAMATIC WORKS

OF

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE,

WITH

NOTES,

ORIGINAL AND SELECTED,

BY

SAMUEL WELLER SINGER, F. S. A.

MERCHANT OF VENICE. AS YOU LIKE IT. ALL'S WELL THAT

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FRANCFORT o. M.

PRINTED FOR BRÖNNER.
1830.

KANTONSBIBLIOTHER

LUZERN.

MERCHANT OF VENICE.

PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

THE Merchant of Venice," says Schlegel, "is one of Shakspeare's most perfect works: popular to an extraordinary degree, and calculated to produce the most powerful effect on the stage, and at the same time a wonder of ingenuity and art for the re flecting critic. Shylock, the Jew, is one of the inconceivable masterpieces of characterisation of which Shakspeare alone furnishes us with 'examples. It is easy for the poet and the player to exhibit a caricature of national sentiments, modes of speaking, and gestures. Shylock, however, is every thing but a common Jew: he possesses a very determinate and original individuality, and yet we perceive a slight touch of Judaism in every thing which he says or does. We imagine we hear a sprinkling of the Jewish pronunciation in the mere waitten words, as we sometimes still find it in the higher classes, notwithstanding their social refinement. In tranquil situations what is foreign to the European blood and Christian sentiments is less perceivable, but in passion the national stamp appears more strongly marked. All these inimitable niceties the finished art of a great actor can alone properly express. Shylock is a man of information, even a thinker in his own way; he has only not discovered the region where human feelings dwell: his morality is founded on the disbelief in goodness and magnanimity. The desire of revenging the oppressions and humiliatious suffered by his nation is, after avarice, his principal spring of action. His hate is naturally directed chiefly against those Christians who possess truly Christian sentiments: the example of disinterested love of our neighbour seems to him the most unrelenting persecution of the Jews. The letter of the law is his idol; he refuses to lend an ear to the voice of mercy, which speaks to him from the mouth of Portia with heavenly eloquence: he insists on severe and inflexible justice, and it at last recoils on his own head. Here he becomes a symbol of the general history of his unfortunate nation. The melancholy and self-neglectful magnanimity of Antonio is affectingly sublime. Like a royal merchant, he is surrounded with a whole train of noble friends. The contrast which this forms to the selfish cruelty of the usurer Shylock, was necessary to redeem the honour of human nature. The judgment scene with which the fourth act is occupied is alone a perfect drama, concentrating in itself the now untied, and according to therest of the whole. The knot is the common idea the curtain might drop. But the poet was unwilling to dismiss his audience with the gloomy impressions which the delivery of Antonio, accomplished with so much difficulty, contrary to all expectation, and the punishment of Shylock, were calculated to leave behind: he has therefore added the fifth act by way of a musical afterpiece in the play itself. The episode of Jessica, the fugitive daughter of the Jew, in whom Shakspeare has contrived to throw a disguise of sweetness over the national features, and the artifice

which Portia and her companion are enabled to rally their newly married husbands supply him with materials."

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