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This week’s podcast is from Shakespeare’s Storybook and is the folktale behind Shakespeare’s famous play The Merchant of Venice. In “A Bargain is a Bargain,” two very different brothers inherit their father’s fortune. The older brother invests his share and soon becomes successful, while the younger brother spends his portion and must find a way to marry the duke’s daughter to help settle one of his debts. Tune in to find out the fate of the younger brother and read on for a chance to win!

In “A Bargain is a Bargain,” the young brother determines the ultimate prize worth having in life is a marriage to the duke’s daughter. What do you consider the ultimate prize worth having in life? Let us know by sharing a comment, and you will be entered to win a copy of Shakespeare’s Storybook. The contest closes Tuesday, March 6 at midnight EST and Wednesday, March 7 at 5am GMT.

Here are some fun facts about Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice:

  • It is believed that The Merchant of Venice was first performed between 1596 and 1597. In the Elizabethan era, there was a huge demand for new entertainment, which means The Merchant of Venice would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.
  • The Merchant of Venice is considered a comedy.
  • Quotes from The Merchant of Venice are among Shakespeare’s most famous including: “All that glitters is not gold” and “Mislike me not for my complexion.”
  • Until the 2004 release of Hollywood version of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino as Shylock, the play had not been filmed for the big screen since the days of silent films as it was considered anti-semantic.
  • The character of Shylock may have been based on two real men who were contemporaries of Shakespeare. One was a Jewish merchant in Italy who lost a bet with a bishop friend of his and would have had to repay it with a pound of flesh if the Pope had not come to his rescue. The other was a doctor named Lopez, a Portuguese Jew, who worked for Queen Elizabeth I and was falsely accused of treason.

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