The Merchant of Venice was probably written between 1596 and 1598, and was printed with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623. Bassanio, an impoverished gentleman, uses the credit of his friend, the merchant Antonio, to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Antonio pledges to pay Shylock a pound of flesh if he defaults on the loan, which Bassanio will use to woo a rich heiress, Portia. A subplot concerns the elopement of Shylock's daughter Jessica with a Christian, Bassanio's friend Lorenzo. Life of William Shakespeare is a biography of William Shakespeare by the eminent critic Sidney Lee. This book was one of the first major biographies of the Bard of Avon. It was published in 1898, based on the article contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography.
William Shakespeare (1564 — 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain.
Sir Sidney Lee (1859 — 1926) was an English biographer and critic. He was a lifelong scholar and enthusiast of Shakespeare. His article on Shakespeare in the fifty-first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography formed the basis of his Life of William Shakespeare. This full-length life is often credited as the first modern biography of the poet.