Nicola Mansfield's Reviews > The Merchant of Venice: The Graphic Novel

The Merchant of Venice by John F. McDonald
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Aug 03, 11

Read in July, 2011

Reason for Reading: Mostly due to the fact that the publisher sent me a review copy, however, I am familiar with this Shakespeare play and am always interested in graphic or picturebook retellings of Shakespeare.

Written in modern day English, thankfully! I am one of those who (gasp) appreciate Shakespeare in our own language and can't stand trying to fumble through Elizabethan English. The book starts off with a one page intro to Shakespeare and then a Characters page which is very helpful. It shows the four main characters which one can refer back to as Antonio and Bassanio have a lot of friends with names ending in "io" which could get confusing to some readers and remembering that they are only minor characters helps the reader focus on the four whom the plot centers around. A nice faithful adaption to the play except that the controversial Jewish element has been removed, in fact, Shylock's being a Jew is never mentioned. This does take away what is an important element of discussion/analysis of this play and makes Shylock's famous speech about being the same as others ("if you prick us, do we not bleed?") seem unwarranted and over dramatic when it appears. Nicely illustrated in historical fashion, though I had a bit of a problem with Portia's depiction, she appeared rather manly looking to me, square jawed with broad shoulders. Otherwise, a nice first introduction to the play or a new way to experience a classic.
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