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Teacher's Guide [imagemap with 9 links]


There are countless books, articles, and Web sites about Shakespeare and his works. For background on The Merchant of Venice and Othello, previous adaptations of Shakespeare's work, and more ideas for discussion and activities in the classroom, try these selected Web, print, and film resources.

Web Sites

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
MIT's Shakespeare's homepage, where you can download any of Shakespeare's works in their entirety, or scene by scene.

Teaching Shakespeare
The Folger Library's site for teachers from the Teaching Shakespeare Institute includes lesson plans, Teacher's Lounge for questions, and an idea exchange. See especially "The Good and the Badde: Are Stereotypes a Perfect Fit?" by Maryann Jessop and Jeannie Goodwin, November 1999.

The Shakespeare Classoom
Click on "Materials for Teaching Shakespeare" for teaching resources and study questions.

Three Scenes, Three Societies, Three Shylocks
A lesson plan for The Merchant of Venice, drawn from the teaching resources archives of Shakespeare Magazine offers a research-based exploration of how Shylock might have been interpreted in three different historical periods.

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
An annotated guide to Shakespeare resources on the Web, including timelines and biographical information.

Surfing with the Bard
Student and teacher guides to the plays, discussions, reviews, links to lesson plans, and online courses.


Bate, Jonathan, ed., and Russell Jackson. Shakespeare: An Illustrated Stage History. Oxford University Press, 1996.
Essays on over 400 years of Shakespeare's plays on stage, including modern adaptations.

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. Riverhead Books, 1998.
A comprehensive study of Shakespeare's plays by the prominent literary critic. Chapters on both The Merchant of Venice and Othello address major critical questions.

Brode, Douglas. Shakespeare in the Movies: From the Silent Era to Shakespeare in Love. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Accessible analysis of various movie adaptations, organized by play.

Epstein, Norrie. The Friendly Shakespeare. Viking, 1990.
A resource for both students and teachers, including analysis, interviews with actors, directors, critics, anecdotes, and facts on the history of the plays.

Gross, John. Shylock: A Legend & Its Legacy. Simon and Schuster, 1992.
A comprehensive critical analysis of the character Shylock. Includes a history of Shylock, interpretations, and a section called "Citizen of the World" which cites the effect of The Merchant of Venice on actual events.

Halio, Jay, ed. Understanding The Merchant of Venice: A Student Casebook. Greenwood Press, 2000.
Essays, analysis, and primary sources.

O'Brien, Peggy, ed. Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Twelfth Night, Othello. Washington Square Press, 1995.
Essays, teaching techniques, activities, and day-to-day strategies for teaching Othello, written by faculty and participants in the Folger Shakespeare Library's Teaching Shakespeare Institute.


To date, there have been 13 screen versions of The Merchant of Venice: five released in movie theaters, eight produced for television. In 1965 Orson Welles directed a made-for-TV production in which he starred as Shylock. In 1973, Laurence Olivier followed suit in a television version directed by Jonathan Miller. The Masterpiece Theatre version directed by Trevor Nunn uses traditional Shakespeare language but a modernized setting.

There have been 23 film versions of Othello. Among the most notable are the 1952 film directed by and starring Orson Welles as Othello. In 1965, Lawrence Olivier took the role in a film directed by Stuart Burge. In 1995, director Oliver Parker released a condensed version of Othello starring Laurence Fishburne in the title role with Kenneth Brannagh as Iago. 2001 brings two new adaptations of the story of Othello to the screen: Andrew Davies' adaptation for Masterpiece Theatre and the upcoming O, directed by Tim Blake Nelson, featuring a teen cast and a high school setting.

Teacher's Guide:
Teaching The Merchant of Venice and Othello
The Merchant of Venice: Plot Summary | Before Viewing
Othello: Plot Summary | Adapting Shakespeare
Adapting Shakespeare: Activities | On Race and Religion
On Race and Religion: Activities | The Filmmaker's Vision
Resources | Order the Teacher's Guide

Essays + Interviews | Shakespeare + More | Who's Who
Drama to Film | Story Synopsis | Russell Baker
Teacher's Guide | The Forum | Links and Bibliography

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