For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Is Bacon Bellario?
More Insights into the Merchant of Venice
  • Christina Waldman
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Whoever wrote 'The Merchant of Venice' had a great legal mind. Was Francis Bacon the inspiration, or what indeed was the relationship between Bacon and Bellario? Students and fans of Shakespeare have long been struck by Portia's impassioned plea for mercy and by the sophisticated lawyerly twists of the exchange. The author brings in a wealth of references to writers who have examined this play and related questions and she presents intriguing possible historical precedents for names and symbols that are used in the play, adding layers of appreciation and pleasure to the reading.

About the Author

Christina Waldman holds a B.A. in History (minor in Classics) and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in New York State and writes for publishers in the legal field. She has had a life-long love of books and etymology.

She also writes for children and for everyone who enjoys literature. Her joy in sharing the wonder of words and stories shines through in every page. Her eyes were first opened to historical imagination by her high school Latin teacher, Daisy Swanstrom. Ms. Waldman believes in looking at a problem beyond the surface, since appearances can deceive. She cherishes Bernard Malamud’s advice to would-be writers: “You must love literature and read and think of it endlessly.” 

This project, analyzing the legal aspects of "Merchant" and pondering what this highly professional trial scene can suggest as to the authorship of at least this portion of Shakespeare's work, is something she's been quietly researching and building upon endlessly - or at least, for half a lifetime.

About the Book
Astonishingly adept legal strategies mark The Merchant of Venice as the work of a skilled legal mind, and readers have often wondered how a playwright could have produced such a gem of argumentation.

Initially, the author was driven...

Astonishingly adept legal strategies mark The Merchant of Venice as the work of a skilled legal mind, and readers have often wondered how a playwright could have produced such a gem of argumentation.

Initially, the author was driven by curiosity to test whether 'Antonio v. Shylock' actually followed English contract law of the time. She began with Mark Edwin Andrewes’ 1965 Law v. Equity in the Merchant of Venice: A Legalization of Act IV Scene 1, which had intrigued her since her college days. Initially at her elbow were her law school legal history course materials (the late Robert E. Beck’s unpublished 1978 two-volume "Selected Materials on Anglo-American Legal History”) and Catherine Drinker Bowen’s “The Lion and the Throne" (a biography of Lord Coke). She soon found herself reading works by Daniel R. Coquillette (author of the book Francis Bacon), R. H. Helmholz, Nieves Matthews, Brian Vickers, Ilya Gililov, as well as lesser-known lawyer-researchers such as N. B. Cockburn and Richard Paul Roe. While there has been more written on Shakespeare alone — not to mention Francis Bacon — than anyone could read in one lifetime, she has attempted to use "Bellario" as a common "thread" through the "labyrinth" (with credit to Francis Bacon for the metaphor).

If we look at Elizabethan England four hundred years ago, it may feel like history is cycling backwards, regressing in terms of our rights and freedoms. It was not an open society, with the censorship and repression, religious persecution, the way people did not question authority. This book and the play itself are as timely as ever.


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Year: 2018
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