The Merchant of Venice


In 1599 Francis Bacon, having spent all his money in publishing various books, fell into debt and borrowed money from a "hard Jew," who cast him into a sponging house. He appealed to his foster brother Anthony, who returned from abroad, mortgaged his property and borrowed money from his friends in order to pay off Francis' debts.
Is it a coincidence that in the following year, 1600, the play "Merchant of Venice" was published in Quarto, and that in this play is a character called Antonio who behaves exactly as Anthony Bacon had done the year before, in order to help his friend Bassanio to get out of the clutches of the Jewish moneylender Shylock?

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