Man on stage dressed in a suit leaning on his walking stick, wearing glasses and pointing

Education Resources

The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare

Discover teaching ideas and lesson planning inspiration through our range of resources, activities and other supporting materials on Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice.

The Merchant of Venice tells the story of Antonio, who borrows money from the Jewish moneylender Shylock in order to pay his debts. As part of his promise to Shylock, Antonio promises him a pound of flesh if he cannot repay. 

Set in Venice, this play is a great way to explore justice and law as well as lots of other themes you can use as routes into the text, including:

  • Prejudice
  • Revenge
  • Money 

You can discover more about these themes and where they appear in the text in our Themes Resource

There are so many different ways of exploring the text but you may find the following particularly useful in introducing the text:

On 21 April 2016 the RSC will be broadcasting our 2015 production of the play into UK schools for free. If you would like to participate please don’t forget to register. The below guide is also available for anyone watching the broadcast with limited preparation time with students: 


Studying Shakespeare? Then you'll love our new SHAKESPEARE LEARNING ZONE!
Discover loads of facts, videos and in-depth information about Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare Learning  Zone logo

Really get to grips with the stories, settings and characters of Shakespeare's plays. Unlock his language using the same techniques our actors use in rehearsals.