Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is one of the Bard’s most challenging plays, and it is particularly challenging for modern Jews. Led by a leading scholar in Renaissance literature, this seminar course will give students the chance to work slowly and intensively through the text of Shakespeare’s play. We will consider the action and themes of the play as a whole but will also look particularly at Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock. How closely does Shylock replicate other “stage Jews” of the period? How closely does he represent the real status of Jews in early modern England? What do we make of the ties—literary and historical—between Jews and the world of money and markets?