A Momaria and a Baptism: A Note on Beginning and Ending in the Globe Merchant of Venice (2015)


  • Roberta Mullini University of Urbino Carlo Bo (but retired end 2015)




Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, beginning, ending, New Globe, Jonathan Munby


The New Globe 2015 performance of The Merchant of Venice made a very dark comedy of a so called ‘romantic’ one. Not only is Shylock shown as a victim of Venetian anti-Semitism from the very beginning, but he also turns out as a pitiful – and deeply pitied – character because of the addition to the end of the play created by the director Jonathan Munby. The article, after summarising the role of the initial and final phases of dramatic texts, discusses the beginning and ending added by Munby, also through some reviewers’ responses to the production both in London and in the USA. It then  articulates its own standpoint claiming that the additions made by the director to the original text, while legitimate as artistic objects and directorial choices, diminish the play’s complexity and constitute sort of performative paratext to the play. (The research is based on the “Globe on Screen” DVD version of the play).

Author Biography

Roberta Mullini, University of Urbino Carlo Bo (but retired end 2015)

Roberta Mullini, former full rofessor of English Literature at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo, has published widely on English early modern and Shakespearean drama and theatre. She is also interested in theoretical issues connected to theatrical reception and to Shakespeare on screen. She has written volumes on Shakespeare’s fools (1983 and 1997), on early modern plays (1992), on John Heywood (1997), on the material culture of the theatre (2003, with Romana Zacchi), on WWI poetry (1977), and on David Lodge’s novels (2001). She has also directed students’ performances of English interludes. Her book Healing Words. The Printed Handbills of Early Modern London Quacks was published in 2015. She is now working on the aside in Shakespearean plays. She is editor-in-chief of Linguæ &, a journal devoted to modern languages and cultures.


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