The Ferryman (play)
The Ferryman is a 2017 play by Jez Butterworth. Set during The Troubles, it tells the story of the family of a former IRA activist, living in their farmhouse in rural County Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1981, it had its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre on 24 April 2017 running to 20 May, directed by Sam Mendes. It was the fastest-selling play in Royal Court Theatre history; the cast included Paddy Considine, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O'Reilly, Bríd Brennan, Fra Fee, John Hodgkinson, Stuart Graham, Gerard Horan, Carla Langley, Des McAleer, Conor MacNeill, Rob Malone, Dearbhla Molloy, Eugene O'Hare and Niall Wright. The production transferred to the Gielgud Theatre, opening on 29 June 2017, following previews from 20 June. After a first cast change on 9 October 2017 with William Houston, Sarah Greene, Ivan Kaye and others joining the company, a second cast change took place on 8 January 2018, featuring Rosalie Craig, Owen McDonnell, Laurie Kynaston and Justin Edwards; the production closed on 19 May 2018.
The production transferred to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway, beginning previews on 2 October 2018; the play will run on Broadway until July 7, 2019. Official Website Royal Court Listing
William Congreve was an English playwright and poet of the Restoration period. He is known for his clever, satirical dialogue and influence on the comedy of manners style of that period, he was a minor political figure in the British Whig Party. William Congreve was born in Bardsey, England near Leeds, his parents were Mary née Browning. The family moved to London in 1672, they relocated again in 1674 to the Irish port town of Youghal where his father served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Army. Congreve spent his childhood in Ireland, where his father, a Cavalier, had settled during the reign of Charles II. Congreve was educated at Kilkenny College where he met Jonathan Swift, at Trinity College in Dublin. Upon graduation, he matriculated at the Middle Temple in London to study law, but preferred literature and the fashionable life. Congreve used the pseudonym Cleophil, under which he published Incognita: or, Love and Duty reconcil'd in 1692; this early work, written when he was about 17 years of age, gained him recognition among men of letters and an entrance into the literary world.
He became a disciple of John Dryden whom he met through gatherings of literary circles held at Will's Coffeehouse in the Covent Garden district of London. John Dryden supported Congreve's work throughout his life, taking the form of complimentary introductions written for some of Congreve's publications. William Congreve shaped the English comedy of manners through his use of satire and well-written dialogue. Congreve achieved fame in 1693 when he wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period; this period was distinguished by the fact that female roles were beginning to be played predominantly by women, was evident in Congreve's work. One of Congreve's favorite actresses was Mrs. Anne Bracegirdle, who performed many of the female lead roles in his plays, his first play The Old Bachelor, written to amuse himself while convalescing, was produced at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1693. It was recognized as a success, ran for a two-week period when it opened. Congreve's mentor John Dryden gave the production rave reviews and proclaimed it to be a brilliant first piece.
The second play to be produced was called The Double-Dealer, not nearly as successful as the first production. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies, including Love for Love staged at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre, nearly as well received as his first major success, The Way of the World; this play was a failure at the time of production but is seen as one of his masterpieces today, is still revived. He wrote one tragedy, The Mourning Bride, popular at the time of creation but is now one of his least regarded dramas. After the production of Love for Love, Congreve became one of the managers for the Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1695. During that time, he wrote public occasional verse; as a result of his success and literary merit, he was awarded one of the five positions of commissioner for licensing hackney coaches. Congreve's career as a playwright was brief, he only wrote five plays, authored from 1693 to 1700, in total. This was in response to changes in taste, as the public turned away from the sort of high-brow sexual comedy of manners in which he specialized.
Congreve may have been forced off the stage due to growing concerns about the morality of his theatrical comedies. He was stung by a critique written by Jeremy Collier, to the point that he wrote a long reply, "Amendments of Mr. Collier's False and Imperfect Citations." Although no longer on the stage, Congreve continued his literary art. He wrote the librettos for two operas that were being created at the time, he translated the works of Molière; as a member of the Whig Kit-Kat Club, Congreve's career shifted to the political sector, a political appointment in Jamaica in 1714 by George I. Congreve continued to write. During his time in Jamaica, he wrote poetry instead of full length dramatic productions, translated the works of Homer, Juvenal and Horace. Congreve withdrew from the theatre and lived the rest of his life on residuals from his early work, the royalties received when his plays were produced, as well as his private income, his output from 1700 was restricted to some translation. Congreve never married.
These women included Anne Bracegirdle and Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough, daughter of the famous general, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Congreve and Henrietta met by 1703 and the duchess had a daughter, believed to be his child. Upon his death, he left his entire fortune to the Duchess of Marlborough; as early as 1710, he suffered both from cataracts on his eyes. Congreve suffered a carriage accident from which he never recovered. Two of Congreve's phrases from The Mourning Bride have become famous, although sometimes misquoted or misattributed to William Shakespeare. "Musick has charms to soothe a savage breast,", the first line of the play, spoken by Almeria in Act I, Scene I. This is rendered as: "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast" or savage b
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking; the play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded public performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the year's calendar; the play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio. Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria and she comes ashore with the help of a Captain, she has lost contact with her twin brother, whom she believes to be drowned, with the aid of the Captain, she disguises herself as a young man under the name Cesario, enters the service of Duke Orsino.
Duke Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with Olivia, mourning the recent deaths of her father and brother. She refuses to see entertainments, be in the company of men, or accept love or marriage proposals from anyone, the Duke included, until seven years have passed. Duke Orsino uses'Cesario' as an intermediary to profess his passionate love before Olivia. Olivia, falls in love with'Cesario', setting her at odds with her professed duty. In the meantime, Viola has fallen in love with the Duke Orsino, creating a love triangle: Viola loves Duke Orsino, Duke Orsino loves Olivia, Olivia loves Viola disguised as Cesario. In the comic subplot, several characters conspire to make Olivia's pompous steward, believe that Olivia has fallen for him; this involves Sir Toby Belch. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage themselves in drinking and revelry, thus disturbing the peace of Olivia's household until late into the night, prompting Malvolio to chastise them. Sir Toby famously retorts, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?".
Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria plan revenge on Malvolio. They convince Malvolio that Olivia is secretly in love with him by planting a love letter, written by Maria in Olivia's handwriting, it asks Malvolio to wear yellow stockings cross-gartered, to be rude to the rest of the servants, to smile in the presence of Olivia. Malvolio reacts in surprised delight, he starts acting out the contents of the letter to show Olivia his positive response. Olivia is shocked by the changes in Malvolio and agreeing that he seems mad, leaves him to be cared for by his tormentors. Pretending that Malvolio is insane, they lock him up in a dark chamber. Feste visits him to mock his insanity, both disguised as himself. Meanwhile, Viola's twin, has been rescued by Antonio, a sea captain who fought against Orsino, yet who accompanies Sebastian to Illyria, despite the danger, because of his affection for Sebastian. Sebastian's appearance adds the confusion of mistaken identities to the comedy. Taking Sebastian for'Cesario', Olivia asks him to marry her, they are secretly married in a church.
When'Cesario' and Sebastian appear in the presence of both Olivia and Orsino, there is more wonder and confusion at their physical similarity. At this point, Viola is reunited with her twin brother; the play ends in a declaration of marriage between Duke Orsino and Viola, it is learned that Sir Toby has married Maria. Malvolio swears revenge on his tormentors and stalks off. Illyria, the exotic setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the play's romantic atmosphere. Illyria was an ancient region of the Western Balkans whose coast covered the coasts of modern-day Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Albania, it included the city-state of the Republic of Ragusa, proposed as the setting. Illyria may have been suggested by the Roman comedy Menaechmi, the plot of which involves twins who are mistaken for each other. Illyria is referred to as a site of pirates in Shakespeare's earlier play, Henry VI, Part 2; the names of most of the characters are Italian but some of the comic characters have English names.
Oddly, the "Illyrian" lady Olivia has Sir Toby Belch. It has been noted that the play's setting has other English allusions such as Viola's use of "Westward ho!", a typical cry of 16th century London boatmen, Antonio's recommendation to Sebastian of "The Elephant" as where it is best to lodge in Illyria. The play is believed to have drawn extensively on the Italian production Gl'ingannati, collectively written by the Accademia degli Intronati in 1531, it is conjectured that the name of its male lead, was suggested by Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, an Italian nobleman who visited London in the winter of 1600 to 1601. Another source story, "Of Apollonius and Silla", appeared in Barnabe Riche's collection, Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession conteining verie pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme, which in turn is derived from a story by Matteo Bandello."Twelfth Night" is a reference to the twelfth ni
Sir Alan Ayckbourn, is a prolific British playwright and director. He has written and produced more than seventy full-length plays in Scarborough and London and was, between 1972 and 2009, the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, where all but four of his plays have received their first performance. More than 40 have subsequently been produced in the West End, at the Royal National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company since his first hit Relatively Speaking opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1969. Major successes include Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests trilogy, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman in Mind, A Small Family Business, Man Of The Moment, House & Garden and Private Fears in Public Places, his plays have won numerous awards, including seven London Evening Standard Awards. They have been translated into over 35 languages and are performed on stage and television throughout the world. Ten of his plays have been staged on Broadway, attracting two Tony nominations, one Tony award.
Ayckbourn was born in London. His mother Irene Worley was a writer of short stories who published under the name "Mary James", his father, Horace Ayckbourn, was an orchestral violinist, at one time deputy leader of the London Symphony Orchestra. His parents, who separated shortly after World War II, never married, Ayckbourn's mother divorced her first husband to marry again in 1948. Ayckbourn wrote his first play at Wisborough Lodge when he was about 10. Whilst at prep school as a boarder, his mother wrote to tell him she was marrying Cecil Pye, a bank manager; when he went home for the holidays, his new family consisted of his mother, his stepfather and Christopher, his stepfather's son by an earlier marriage. This relationship too ran into difficulties early on. Ayckbourn attended Haileybury and Imperial Service College, in the village of Hertford Heath, whilst there toured Europe and America with the school's Shakespeare company. After leaving school at 17, Ayckbourn's career took several temporary jobs in various places before starting a temporary job at the Scarborough Library Theatre, where he was introduced to the artistic director, Stephen Joseph.
It is said that Joseph became both a mentor and father figure for Ayckbourn until his untimely death in 1967, he has spoken of him. Ayckbourn's career was interrupted when he was called for National Service, he was swiftly discharged on medical grounds, but it is suggested that a doctor who noticed his reluctance to join the Armed Forces deliberately failed the medical as a favour. Although Ayckbourn continued to move where his career took him, he settled in Scarborough buying Longwestgate House, the house owned by Stephen Joseph. In 1957, Ayckbourn married Christine Roland, another member of the Library Theatre company, indeed Ayckbourn's first two plays were written jointly with her under the pseudonym of "Roland Allen", they had two sons and Philip. However, the marriage had difficulties which led to their separation in 1971. Ayckbourn said that his relationship with Roland became easy once they agreed their marriage was over. Around this time, he started to share a home with Heather Stoney, an actress he had first met ten years earlier.
Like his mother, neither he nor Roland sought a divorce for the next thirty years and it was only in 1997 that they formally divorced. One side-effect of the timing is that, as Ayckbourn was awarded a knighthood a few months before the divorce, both his first and second wife were entitled to take the title of Lady Ayckbourn. In February 2006, he suffered a stroke in Scarborough, stated: "I hope to be back on my feet, or should I say my left leg, as soon as possible, but I know it is going to take some time. In the meantime I am in excellent hands and so is the Stephen Joseph Theatre." He left hospital after eight weeks and returned to directing after six months, but the following year he announced he would step down as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Ayckbourn, continues to write and direct his own work at the theatre. Since Ayckbourn's plays started becoming established in the West End, interviewers have raised the question of whether his work is autobiographical. There is no clear answer to this question.
There has only been one biography, written by Paul Allen, this covers his career in the theatre. Ayckbourn has said he sees aspects of himself in all his characters. For example, in Bedroom Farce, he admitted to being, in some respects, all four of the men in the play, it has been suggested that, after Ayckbourn himself, the person, used the most in his plays is his mother as Susan in Woman in Mind. What is less clear is how much influence events in Ayckbourn's life have had on his writing, it is true that the theme of marriages in various difficulties was present throughout his plays in the early seventies, around the time his own marriage was coming to an end. However, by this time, he had witnessed the failures of his parents' relationships as well as those of some of his friends. Which relationships, if any, he drew on for his plays, is unclear. In Paul Allen's biography, Ayckbourn is compared to Dafydd and Guy in A Chorus of Disapproval. Both characters feel themselves in trouble, there was speculation that Ayckbourn himself may have felt himself to be in trouble.
At the time, he had become involved with another actress, which threatened his relationship with Ston
Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan, CBE was a British dramatist. He was one of England's most popular mid twentieth century dramatists, his plays are set in an upper-middle-class background. He wrote The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea and Separate Tables, among many others. A troubled homosexual, who saw himself as an outsider, his plays centred on issues of sexual frustration, failed relationships, a world of repression and reticence. Terence Rattigan was born in 1911 in London, of Irish Protestant extraction, he had Brian. They were the grandsons of Sir William Henry Rattigan, a notable India-based jurist, a Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for North-East Lanarkshire, his father was Frank Rattigan CMG, a diplomat whose exploits included an affair with Princess Elisabeth of Romania which resulted in her having an abortion. The Royal House of Romania is considered to be the inspiration of Rattigan's play The Sleeping Prince. Rattigan's birth certificate and his birth announcement in The Times indicate he was born on 9 June 1911.
However, most reference books state. There is evidence suggesting, he was given no middle name. Rattigan was educated at Sandroyd School from 1920 to 1925, at the time based in Cobham and Harrow School. Rattigan played cricket for the Harrow First XI and scored 29 in the Eton–Harrow match in 1929, he was a member of the Harrow School Officer Training Corps and organised a mutiny, informing the Daily Express. More annoying to his headmaster, Cyril Norwood, was the telegram from the Eton OTC, "offering to march to his assistance", he went to Trinity College, Oxford. Success as a playwright came early, with the comedy French Without Tears in 1936, set in a crammer; this was inspired by a 1933 visit to a village called Marxzell in the Black Forest, where young English gentlemen went to learn German. Rattigan's determination to write a more serious play produced After the Dance, a satirical social drama about the "bright young things" and their failure to politically engage; the outbreak of the Second World War scuppered any chances of a long run.
Shortly before the war, Rattigan had written a satire about Follow My Leader. During the war, Rattigan served in the Royal Air Force as a tail gunner, he was a friend of Spike Milligan's junior officer, Lieutenant Tony Goldsmith, killed in the Battle of Longstop Hill, whilst on observation post duty. Rattigan sent it to The Times. A copy of it is in "Rommel?" "Gunner Who?", one volume of Milligan's war memoirs. After the war, Rattigan alternated between comedies and dramas, establishing himself as a major playwright: the most famous of which were The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea, Separate Tables, he believed in understated emotions and craftsmanship, deemed old fashioned and "pre-war" after the overnight success in 1956 of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger began the era of kitchen sink dramas by the writers known as the Angry Young Men. Rattigan responded to this critical disfavour with some bitterness, his plays Ross and Boy, In Praise of Love, Cause Célèbre, however show no sign of any decline in his talent.
Rattigan explained that he wrote his plays to please a symbolic playgoer, "Aunt Edna", someone from the well-off middle-class who had conventional tastes. "Aunt Edna" inspired Joe Orton to create "Edna Welthorpe", a mischievous alter ego stirring up controversy about his own plays. Rattigan was gay, with numerous lovers but no long-term partners, a possible exception being his "congenial companion... and occasional friend" Michael Franklin. It has been claimed his work is autobiographical, containing coded references to his sexuality, which he kept secret from all but his closest friends. There is some truth in this. On the other hand, for the Broadway staging of Separate Tables, he wrote an alternative version of the newspaper article in which Major Pollock's indiscretions are revealed to his fellow hotel guests. However, Rattigan changed his mind about staging it, the original version proceeded. Rattigan was fascinated with the character of T. E. Lawrence. In 1960 he wrote. Preparations were made to film it, Dirk Bogarde accepted the role.
However, it did not proceed because the Rank Organisation withdrew its support, not wishing to offend David Lean and Sam Spiegel, who had started to film Lawrence of Arabia. Bogarde called Rank's decision "my bitterest disappointment". In 1960, a musical version of French Without Tears was staged as Joie de Vivre, with music b
Equus is a drama play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man who has a pathological religious fascination with horses. Shaffer was inspired to write Equus when he heard of a crime involving a 17-year-old who blinded six horses in a small town near Suffolk, he set out to construct a fictional account of what might have caused the incident, without knowing any of the details of the crime. The play's action is something of a detective story, involving the attempts of the child psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart to understand the cause of the boy's actions while wrestling with his own sense of purpose; the original stage production ran at the National Theatre in London between 1973 and 1975, directed by John Dexter. Alec McCowen played Dysart, Peter Firth played Alan Strang. Came the Broadway productions that starred Anthony Hopkins as Dysart and from the London production, Peter Firth as Alan; when Firth left for Broadway, Dai Bradley took over the role of Alan in the London production, playing opposite Michael Jayston as Dr. Dysart.
Tom Hulce replaced Firth during the Broadway run. The Broadway production ran for 1,209 performances. Marian Seldes appeared in every single performance of the Broadway run, first in the role of Hesther and as Dora. Shaffer adapted his play for a 1977 film of the same name. Numerous other issues inform the narrative. Most important are religious and ritual sacrifice themes, the manner in which character Alan Strang constructs a personal theology involving the horses and the supreme godhead, "Equus". Alan sees the horses as representative of God and confuses his adoration of his "God" with sexual attraction. Important is Shaffer's examination of the conflict between personal values and satisfaction and societal mores and institutions. In reference to the play's classical structure and characterisation, Shaffer has discussed the conflict between Apollonian and Dionysian values and systems in human life. Martin Dysart is a psychiatrist in a mental hospital, he begins with a monologue in which he outlines the case of 17-year-old Alan Strang, who blinded six horses.
He divulges his feeling that his occupation is not all that he wishes it to be and his feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment about his barren life. Dysart finds that the supply of troubled young people for him to "adjust" back into "normal" living is never-ending, but he doubts the value of treating these youths, since they will return to a dull, normal life that lacks any commitment and "worship", he comments that Alan Strang's crime was extreme, but adds that just such extremity is needed to break free from the chains of existence. A court magistrate, Hesther Saloman, visits Dysart, believing that he has the skills to help Alan come to terms with what he did. At the hospital, Dysart has a great deal of difficulty making any kind of headway with Alan, who at first responds to questioning by singing TV advertising jingles. Dysart reveals a dream he has had, in a Grecian/Homeric setting, in which he is a public official presiding over a mass ritual sacrifice. Dysart slices open the abdomens of hundreds of children, pulls out their entrails.
He becomes disgusted with what he is doing, but fears being murdered in the same manner as the children if he is discovered as a "non-believer" by the other priests, so he does not stop. The other priests, aware of his misgivings, grab the knife from his hand before he awakens from the dream. Dysart interviews Alan's parents, he learns that, from an early age, Alan has been receiving conflicting viewpoints on religion from his parents. Alan's mother, Dora, is a devout Christian; this practice has antagonized a nonbeliever. Dysart makes contact with Alan by playing a game where each of them asks a question, which must be answered honestly. Dysart learns that Frank, concerned that Alan has taken far too much interest in the more violent aspects of the Bible, destroyed a violent picture of the Crucifixion that Alan had hung at the foot of his bed. Alan replaced the picture with large, staring eyes. Alan reveals to Dysart that during his youth, he had established his attraction to horses by way of his mother's biblical tales, a horse story that she had read to him, Western movies, his grandfather's interest in horses and riding.
Alan's sexual training began with his mother who told him he could find true love and contentment by way of religious devotion and marriage. During this time, Alan begins to develop a sexual attraction to horses, desiring to pet their thick coats, feel their muscular bodies, smell their sweat. Alan reveals to Dysart that he had first encountered a horse on the beach. A rider approached him, took him up on the horse. Alan was visibly excited; the horse rider rode off. Dysart hypnotizes Alan, during the hypnosis, Dysart reveals elements of his terrifying dream of the ritual murder of children. Dysart begins to jog Alan's memory by filling in blanks, asking questions. Alan reveals. After turning 17, Alan took a job working in a shop selling electrical goods, where he met Jill Mason, an outgoing and free-spirited young woman, she visits the shop wanting to purchase blades for horse-clippers. Alan was interested when he discovered that Jill has such close contact with horses after she tells him that she works for a local stable owner.
Jill suggested that Alan work for the owner of the stables, Harry Dalton, Alan
The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice must default on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. Though 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, it is best known for Shylock and the famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" Speech on humanity. Notable is Portia's speech about "the quality of mercy". Critic Harold Bloom listed it among Shakespeare's great comedies. Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he needs 3,000 ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor. Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has and bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash-poor – his ships and merchandise are busy at sea to Tripolis, the Indies and England – he promises to cover a bond if Bassanio can find a lender, so Bassanio turns to the Jewish moneylender Shylock and names Antonio as the loan's guarantor.
Antonio has antagonized Shylock through his outspoken antisemitism and because Antonio's habit of lending money without interest forces Shylock to charge lower rates. Shylock is at first reluctant to grant the loan, he agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: if Antonio is unable to repay it at the specified date, Shylock may take a pound of Antonio's flesh. Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition. With money in hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him. Gratiano is a likeable young man, but he is flippant, overly talkative, tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control, the two leave for Belmont. Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors, her father left a will stipulating that each of her suitors must choose from one of three caskets, made of gold and lead respectively. Whoever picks the right casket wins Portia's hand; the first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia.
The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Aragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit. Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath"; the last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes having met him before. As Bassanio ponders his choice, members of Portia's household sing a song that says that "fancy" is "engend'red in the eyes, / With gazing fed". At Venice, Antonio's ships are reported lost at sea, so the merchant cannot repay the bond. Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted, she took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah. Shylock has Antonio brought before court.
At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock. Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Portia's handmaid Nerissa. Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venice, with money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia sent her servant, Balthazar, to seek the counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua; the climax of the play is set in the court of the Duke of Venice. Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer of 6,000 ducats, twice the amount of the loan, he demands his pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify a contract, refers the case to a visitor, he identifies himself as Balthasar, a young male "doctor of the law", bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario. The doctor is Portia in disguise, the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa disguised as a man; as Balthasar, Portia asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speech, advising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes".
However, Shylock insists on the pound of flesh. As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance", she says that the contract allows Shylock to remove not the blood, of Antonio. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws, she tells him that he must cut one pound of flesh, no more, no less. Defeated, Shylock consents to accept Bassanio's offer of money for the defaulted bond: first his offer to pay "the bond thrice", which Portia rebuffs, telling him to take his bond, merely the principal, she cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of