The Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice, commonly known as "Miss do we really have to study this" and "why the hell am I studying this crap?", is an old school production written by guy every literature student loves to hate William "Bill" Shakespeare. The story revolves around this roubles looking guy called Antonio who is always dissing his lovely Jewish friend Shylock, and so the story continues.

The Storyline (In a Nutshell)[edit]

Well, where should we start children, maybe with a nice cup of hot chocolate mmmmmm that would be nice.......

So anyway the action begins with Antonio feeling slightly troubled and his buddies trying to comfort him, they say "are you in love?" Antonio replies "No", they say "Are you worried?" Antonio replies "No". This is because he does not know what is wrong with him, well, actually he is about the experience a rather bad case of hemorrhoids, from that bad Gefilte Fish Shylock (Antonio's bestest buddy) gave him.

What happens next is Bassanio (who's parents loved Drum and Bass music hence the name) rocks up with another one of Antonio's buddies this one seems to be slightly drunk and rambles on about how Antonio should not be so sad about his life (even though he will soon receive that fated case of really really bad hemorrhoids). He is eventually cast aside and the play continues, Bassanio is Antonio's bestest friend forever (they even have matching underwear from that one time in Summer camp). They talk in their old English tone and the conversation turns to Bassanio wanting to borrow some cash-money from Antonio, but Antonio has none on hand as he has spent all of it on that really expensive prostitute (who is also Shylock in drag), so he says that he has to borrow some. He then sends Bassanio on a mission to see what Antonio's credit can do for him. So after lots of time well spent using Antonio's VIP card in the whorehouses of Venice Bassanio figures that it is time to get some of the money for his ultimate goal.

So he goes down to his local money dispencing office (crack dealership) to find one of his bestest chums Shylock, who after much debate agrees to lend Bassanio 3000 bucks in Antonio's name, however here's the catch Shylock is having this killer barbecue in three months and the meat tax of Venice is at an all time high. So if Antonio cannot produce the cash money Shylock will cut off a pound of Antonio's flesh to grill and serve at his monster mamajam pijama barbecue party.

So now Bassanio has his moneys he travels to the mystical land of Belmont to acquire the love of Portia (who is actually Shylock in disguise) to do this he must choose the correct casket and perform the task instructed if he survives said task he can marry Portia and have all her inherited cash money.

So he reaches the room of Portia's casket game (which like every game show is hosted by Noel Edmonds) he chooses the lead casket, which is pretty easy because the other two contestants left the other two open so Bassanio had no other choice. He must ascend to Portia's room of Sado Masochism in the tower if he can survive an hour he will become her husband.

.....The details which we will not stoop to give in this article........

So anyway Bassanio is now married to Portia, however Antonio is now at a paradox he cannot pay back any of the cash money to Shylock so they go to court, Shylock demands his bond be given to him no matter what the cost, and Antonio loses the pound of flesh. That night Shylock's beach bonanza monster mamajam pijamma party ensues and they barbecue Antonio's flesh. Bassanio was invited but he would rater stay in with his new wife however she is nowhere to be found. Then looking through her clothes Bassanio discovers the truth......

Study Questions[edit]

  • Modern day critics denouce Shylock as being a loan shark. Was he justified in demanding a pound of flesh when he originally only lent 3/4 pounds?
  • Do you prefer cheesecloth or mesh for straining the quality of mercy? Is it honestly better left unstrained?
  • Discuss the merits of getting rid of a daughter by making potential boyfriends answer a riddle.
  • Name five atomic elements that glisten, other than gold.
  • Explain why pretending to be an attorney is a preferable way of hiding from your spouse. What are the advantages/disadvantages?
  • Would you sneak out of the house and elope if Shylock was your father? Why or why not? Would heavy narcotics use be an alternative to marriage in this case?
  • Explain why a suicide would have livened up this play. Suggest characters you deem acceptable for the deed.
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The complete works of William Shakespeare
Tragedies: Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Hamlet | Julius Caesar | King Lear | Macbeth | Othello | Romeo and Juliet | Timon of Athens | Titus Androgynous | Titus Andronicus | Troilus and Cressida
Comedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream | All's Well That Ends Well | As You Like It | The Comedy of Errors | Cymbeline | Love's Labour's Lost | Measure for Measure | The Merchant of Venice | The Merry Wives of Windsor | Much Ado About Nothing | Pericles, Prince of Tyre | Taming of the Shrew | The Tempest | Twelfth Night | The Two Gentlemen of Verona | The Two Noble Kinsmen | The Winter's Tale
Histories: King John | Richard I | Richard II | Henry IV, Part 1 | Henry IV, Part 2 | Henry V | Henry VI, part 1 | Henry VI, part 2 | Henry VI, part 3 | Henry VIII | Richard III | Richard IV | Richard V | Richard VI | Richard VII | Richard VIII | Richard IX | Richard X
Poems and Sonnets: Venus and Adonis | The Rape of Lucrece | The Passionate Pilgrim | The Phoenix and the Turtle | A Lover's Complaint | Sonnet 18