Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Lines Second Thoughts — The Merchant of Venice


First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today we take a look at William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. First performed in 1605.

In sooth,
I know not why
I am so sad:
It wearies me;
you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it,
found it,
or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of,
whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado
to know myself.

— William Shakespeare

The money lender Shylock is undoubtedly the most remembered character from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Yet, it is Antonio who is the titular merchant.