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The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare

A fragile house of cards is built as Bassanio borrows money from his friend, Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, to (of course) woo a wealthy and beautiful young woman. Antonio’s own money is tied up in business ventures that depend on the safe return of his ships from sea, so he borrows the money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender Antonio has previously offended, who lends the money against a bond. Failure to repay the loan on the agreed date will entitle Shylock to a pound of Antonio’s flesh. What could go wrong? Everything, of course!

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