The Merchant of Venice Translation Table of Contents. When Antonio obtains a loan of money from Shylock to help his friend Bassanio woo the wealthy Portia, Shylock makes a stark bargain. The Shakescleare modern English translation of The Merchant of Venice makes it easy to decipher. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we . download The Merchant Of Venice (Textbook with Paraphrase) by William Shakespeare PDF Online. ISBN from Ratna Sagar. Download Free.
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No Fear Shakespeare by SparkNotes features the complete edition of The Merchant of Venice side-by-side with an accessible, plain English translation. Merchant of Venice. ACT I. SCENE I. Venice. A street. Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO. ANTONIO. In truth, I know not why I am so sad: It wearies me. Here's an example from The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene i: The quality of Paraphrasing the three main points, we find that Hamlet is saying: a mindless.
Can I know youranswer?
The Merchant of Venice
Word Meaning With Annotation Ducats : There were gold ducats and silver ducats at the time with which the play deals, bound : Antonio shall be legally responsible for the repayment.
But ships are only boards of wood, sailors onlymen; there are land-rats and water rats, land-thieves and water-thieves,—I mean pirates,—and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks.
The man is, in spite of all this, sufficiently credit worthy. Three thousand dollars -1 think I may take his promise to pay. May I speak with Antonio?
Enter Antonio. Word Meaning With Annotation Sufficient : satisfactory as security, his means are in supposition : his fortune may be supposed subject to the risks and failures of business, he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis : It matters little whether Shakespeare was thinking of Tripoli in North Africa, or Tripolis in Syria. Indies : the West Indies near Central America.
Rialto : this was the name of the business quarters of Venice, squandered : sent forth; scattered, the man is not with standing sufficient : nevertheless the man Antonio is satisfactory as security, yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into!
Then the evil spirits asked Christ to allow them to enter into the bodies of a herd of swine, and He allowed them to do so. The Jews look upon pork as an unclean and prohibited food. We see in this speech the character of Shylock. He is proud of his race and his religion, and determined not to break any of his religious observances to please the hated Christian.
Yet he has the shrewd commonsense of a businessman, and is willing to mix with Christians and do business with them, as long as there is profit to be made. I hate him because he is a Christian; But more, because, in his low simplicity, He lends out money free, and brings down The rate of interest with us here in Venice.
In the interests of compactness and brevity, I have employed in my annotations as consistently as I am able a number of stylistic and typographical devices: Words with entirely separate meanings are annotated only for meanings no longer current in Modern English. There is an alphabetically arranged listing of such words and phrases in the Finding List at the back of the book.
Whether or not Shakespeare had anything to do with the title page most likely he did not , the description of the play focuses on three plot lines: The details of the original tale are of some interest, but will not be here discussed: We do not need to know who or what Shakespeare was, nor do we need to understand every one of these lines in detail, to realize that we have here been launched on a tautly controlled literary-dramatic expedition.
In matters of religious belief, even matters of knowledge, The Merchant of Venice must be approached, today, with caution. We know virtually nothing about his likes and dislikes, or though he may sometimes seem to know everything knowable the true extent of his knowledge. He must have enjoyed success, or he would hardly have worked so intensely at achieving it.
He used his money to download land, and to download a coat of arms. But who does not enjoy success? Who in a landdominated culture does not value its ownership? We must be particularly careful not to lean on a tremendously effective and enormously popular comic drama, trying to place it in an ideological schema—like that which we have come to call anti-Semitism—in which it has little if any legitimate place.
But though incredibly gifted, he remains no more than human. Most of the people he knew were Christian, and he had to know a good deal about that faith. Did he know any Muslims, and what did he know about Islam? There is a total lack of evidence. But did he know any Jews, and what did he know about Judaism?
The play plainly seems to be deeply concerned with both Jews and Judaism; Shylock and his daughter are major players in the plot. But what is the true role and importance of their stated religious identity?
We also need to understand that Elizabethan England had only relatively recently been caught up in the Renaissance transformation of European economies. Perhaps, for our purposes, today, it ought to be considered largely symbolic. Still, The Merchant of Venice being a great play by the greatest of playwrights, the situation is inevitably somewhat more complex. He is as it were obliged to engage them as human beings. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my monies and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine, And all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help. Go to then, you come to me, and you say Shylock, we would have monies, you say so. You that did void your rheum upon my beard, And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold, monies is your suit. What should I say to you?
Should I not say, Hath a dog money? Is it possible xxiii introduction A cur should lend three thousand ducats? He is simply engaging, on levels few can reach, with a character in pain. He does this with Shylock on one more occasion, this time in prose rather than in verse: I am a Jew.
Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. He is straightforwardly depicting a character, in the depth that he as a writer needed to attain.
What he has achieved is in a sense a natural byproduct of his genius rather than anything intrinsic to some general view of Jews and Jewishness, which is to some degree the xxiv introduction nominal subject matter of his play. Is there a contradiction between the human Shylock and these attacks on what is obviously considered the nonhuman nature of Jews and Jewishness? Of course there is—if we attempt to frame The Merchant of Venice as an ideological drama, even an exposition of how Shakespeare himself viewed Jews and Jewishness.
The play was no more conceived in such terms than The Taming of the Shrew was meant as a savage assault on women or than The Tempest was intended to be a close critique of magic or the behavior of magicians. Antonio is clearly one of its three focal points, and he is a major player. When he is required to be melancholy, he is melancholy, and when that need has passed,he ceases to be melancholy.
He can be loyal, he can be longsuffering—everything that he needs to be and, aside from the characteristic Shakespearean elegance with which he speaks, not a great deal more.
Antonio works quite satisfactorily, in a role thus delimited; his characterization will not bear any large, close examination. For example, when he tells us, after the fact, why he thinks Shylock hates him, he claims circumstances never previ- xxv introduction ously mentioned and not fully consistent with what has been told us: The abusive episodes that Shylock has described are not here recalled.
In act 1, scene 2, Portia is the very model of maidenly wisdom and, as to the other sex, cynicism. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none? By the end of the scene, having rather scorchingly reviewed some of the many candidates for her hand, she sighs over yet another would-be husband: If he have the condition of a saint, and the complexion of a divel, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.
Come Nerissa. Sirrah go before. She doggedly deals with, and is rid of, a number of failed suitors—until suddenly, there is an unknown and unnamed one an- xxvi introduction nounced by a messenger—that is, a servant.
The Elizabethan audience would have had no trouble understanding that the relative of a messenger would have no business courting a high-upper-class woman who consorts on equal terms with princes. In act 3, scene 2 we see Portia in a more sobered state. The unknown suitor has been the one she most wanted, Bassanio, and he is impatient to take the test that will either win her or lose her.
Plainly, she wants to be with him but not to risk being unable to be with him any longer, if he fails the test. She does not think he will fail it. But just the same, she is cautious.
As he steps through the casket maze, sweet music is played, and sung, creating a perfect atmosphere for romantic success. Portia sees it coming, for she knows which choice would be the right one,and speaks in an aside of her maidenly wish not to hurry this wonderful thing to its death: O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy, In measure rein thy joy, scant this excess. I feel too much thy blessing, make it less, For fear I surfeit. Portia speaks with a wisdom ripening right before our eyes: Though for myself alone I would not be ambitious in my wish To wish myself much better, yet for you I would be trebled twenty times myself, A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times More rich, that only to stand high in your account I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, Exceed account.
But the full sum of me Is sum of something — which to term in gross, Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed, Happy in this, she is not yet so old But she may learn, happier than this, She is not bred so dull but she can learn.
This is in the best sense comedy—that is, drama with a happy ending.
Act 5 will extend this most beautifully. Bassanio rushes off to help. Portia,already wiser than he is in the real ways of the world, takes an indirect but distinctly more functional route. Duke Came you from old Belario? Portia I did my lord. Duke You are welcome, take your place. Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the court? Portia I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew? Her masterly aplomb, indeed, is utterly lawyer-like. It is night; the setting is replete with the stigmata of romance: Lorenzo The moon shines bright. In such a night as this, When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees And they did make no noise, in such a night Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls, xxix introduction And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents Where Cressed lay that night.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank. Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears. Soft stillness, and the night, Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Such harmony is in immortal souls, But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close in it, we cannot hear it 53—64 Portia and Nerissa whose unconsummated marriage to Gratiano constitutes them the third wedding pair arrive. Portia That light we see is burning in my hall. How far that little candle throws his beams. So shines a good deed in a naughty world. There follows a lovely barrage of teasing banter, in the course of which both Portia and Nerissa show, yet again, how vastly their husbands are overmatched by them.
The men are reduced to submissive admissions of guilt and pledges for a guilt-free future: Bassanio Nay, but hear me. Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear I never more will break an oath with thee. In a very few more lines, Portia leads them all indoors, for what is indicated will be a set of most acceptable tripartite acts of marital consummation.
Notes 1. Spelling and punctuation modernized. Columbia University Press, , John Gross, Shylock: Simon and Schuster, , Shapiro, Shakespeare and the Jews, Gross, Shylock, The Merchant in Medieval Europe London: Thames and Hudson, , Gross, Shylock, Martin D.
Yaffe, Shylock and the Jewish Question Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, , 4. These were mostly handheld: Larger props, such as furniture, were used sparingly. As in most premodern and very hierarchical societies, clothing was the distinctive mark of who and what a person was.
The dramaturgy is thus very different from that of our own time, requiring much more attention to verbal and gestural matters. Strict realism was neither intended nor, under the circumstances, possible. Public theaters could hold, on average, two thousand playgoers, most of whom viewed and listened while standing.
Private theaters were smaller, more exclusive. A few such books have survived. Actors had texts only of their own parts, speeches being cued to a few prior words. There were few and often no rehearsals, in our modern use of the term, though there was often some coaching of individuals. This was repertory theater, repeating popular plays and introducing some new ones each season.
Most female roles were acted by boys; elderly women were played by grown men. Being able to read and write, however, had nothing to do with intelligence or concern with language, narrative, and characterization.
People attracted to the theater tended to be both extremely verbal and extremely volatile. Women were regularly in attendance, though no reliable statistics exist. He wrote a good deal of nondramatic poetry as well, yet so far as we know he did not authorize or supervise any work of his that appeared in print during his lifetime. And such a want-wit5 sadness makes of me, That I have much ado6 to know myself.
I should be still26 Plucking the grass27 to know where sits28 the wind, Peering in maps29 for ports, and piers, and roads. Salarino My wind33 cooling my broth Would blow me to an ague,34 when35 I thought What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
But tell not me,51 I know Antonio Is sad to think upon52 his merchandise. Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad. Solanio Why then you are in love. Now by two-headed Janus,58 Nature hath framed59 strange fellows in her time. Fare ye well, We leave you now with better company.
Antonio Your worth is very dear69 in my regard. Salarino Good morrow my good lords. Bassanio Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? You grow exceeding strange. Bassanio I will not fail you.
Gratiano You look not well signior Antonio, You have too much respect upon78 the world: Antonio I hold83 the world but as the world Gratiano, A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one. Gratiano Let me84 play the fool, With mirth and laughter let old85 wrinkles come, 80 And let my liver86 rather heat with wine, Than my heart cool with mortifying87 groans. Why should a man whose blood is warm within Sit like his grandsire, cut in alabaster?
There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream and mantle94 like a standing95 pond, And do a willful stillness96 entertain, With purpose to be drest97 in an opinion98 Of wisdom, gravity,99 profound conceit, As who should say, I am sir an oracle, And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.
O my Antonio, I do know of these That therefore only are reputed wise For saying nothing, when I am very sure If they should speak would almost damn those ears Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. Lorenzo Well, we will leave you then till dinnertime.
Gratiano Well, keep me company but two years mo, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. His reasons are two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff. Antonio Well. Tell me now, what lady is the same To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage That you today promised to tell me of? I urge this childhood proof Because what follows is pure innocence. Then do but say to me what I should do That in your knowledge may by me be done, And I am prest unto it.
Therefore speak. Bassanio In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair, and fairer than that word, Of wondrous virtues. Therefore go forth, Try what my credit can in Venice do, That shall be racked even to the uttermost To furnish thee to Belmont to fair Portia. Go presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is, and I no question make To have it of my trust, or for my sake. Nerissa You would be sweet3 madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are.
And yet for ought I see, they4 are as sick that surfeit5 with too much, as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness therefore to be seated6 in the mean. Portia Good sentences,11 and well pronounced.
It is a good divine15 that follows his own instructions. Is it not hard,29 Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?
But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come? Portia I pray thee overname39 them, and as thou namest them, I will describe them, and according to my description level at40 my affection. Nerissa First there is the Neapolitan prince. I am much afraid my lady his mother played false with a smith. God defend53 me from these two.
If I should marry him, I 55 should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise59 me, I would forgive him,60 for if he love me to61 madness, I should never requite62 him. Nerissa What say you then to Falconbridge, the young baron of England?
God was understood to create everything 56 i. Nerissa What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbor? Portia That he hath a neighborly charity in him, for he 70 borrowed74 a box of the ear of 75 the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able.
I think the Frenchman became his surety,76 and sealed77 under78 for another. Portia Very vilely 79 in the morning when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk.
And the worst fall80 that ever fell,81 I hope I shall make shift82 to go without him. I will do anything Nerissa, ere I will be married to a sponge. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I wish them a fair departure. Portia Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think so was he called. Nerissa True madam, he of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Portia I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise. Shylock For three months, well. Bassanio For the which, as I told you,Antonio shall be bound. Bassanio May you stead4 me? Will you pleasure5 me? Shall I know your answer? Shylock Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio bound.
Bassanio Your answer to that? Shylock Antonio is a good man. Bassanio Have you heard any imputation6 to the contrary? Shylock Ho no, no, no, no.
But ships are but boards, sailors but men, there be land rats, and water rats, water thieves, and land thieves — I mean 20 pirates. Three thousand ducats.
I think I may take his bond. Bassanio If it please you to dine with us. Shylock Yes, to smell pork, to eat of the habitation18 which your prophet the Nazarite19 conjured the divel into.
Shylock aside How like a fawning publican22 he looks. But more, for that in low simplicity24 He lends out money gratis,25 and brings down The rate of usance26 here with us27 in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,28 I will feed fat29 the ancient grudge30 I bear him. Bassanio Shylock, do you hear? Shylock I am debating of 35 my present store, And by the near36 guess of my memory I cannot instantly raise up37 the gross38 Of full three thousand ducats. What of that? But soft,40 how many months Do you desire?
Shylock Ay, three thousand ducats. Shylock I had forgot, three months. And let me see — but hear you, Methoughts48 you said you neither lend nor borrow Upon advantage. Antonio And what of him, did he take interest?
Shylock No, not take interest, not as you would say Directly56 interest. This was a way to thrive,74 and he was blest. And thrift is blessing if men steal it not. Antonio This was a venture sir, that Jacob served for,75 A thing not in his power to bring to pass, But swayed and fashioned76 by the hand of heaven. Was this inserted77 to make interest good? Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams? Shylock I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast, But note me78 signior.
Antonio Mark you this, Bassanio, The divel can cite Scripture for his purpose. O what a goodly outside falsehood hath. Three months from twelve, then82 let me see the rate. Antonio Well Shylock, shall we be beholding83 to you? Shylock Signior Antonio, many a time and oft 72 drop, give birth to 73 i. Still86 have I borne87 it with a patient shrug For sufferance88 is the badge89 of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever,90 cutthroat91 dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardin,92 And all for use of that which is mine own. Go to93 then, you come to me, and you say Shylock, we would94 have monies, you say so. You that did void95 your rheum96 upon my beard, And foot97 me as you spurn98 a stranger cur99 Over your threshold, monies is your suit. Is it possible A cur should lend three thousand ducats? Antonio I am as like to call thee so again, To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather to thine enemy, Who if he break thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty.
Shylock This kindness will I show. Antonio Why fear not man, I will not forfeit it. Pray you tell me this, If he should break his day, what should I gain By the exaction of the forfeiture? If he will take it, so. If not adieu, And for my love I pray you wrong me not. Antonio Yes Shylock, I will seal unto this bond. Antonio Come on, in this there can be no dismay, My ships come home a month before the day.
The best regarded11 virgins of our clime12 Have loved it too. I would not change this hue, Except to steal13 your thoughts,14 my gentle queen. Besides, the lottery of my destiny Bars17 me the right of voluntary choosing. Morocco Even for that I thank you. Therefore I pray you lead me to the caskets To try my fortune. But alas, the while If Hercules and Lichas38 play at dice Which39 is the better man, the greater throw May turn40 by fortune from41 the weaker hand.
So is Alcides42 beaten by his rage, 35 And so may I, blind fortune43 leading me, Miss that44 which one unworthier may attain, And die with45 grieving. Therefore be advised. Portia First forward51 to the temple. Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation,19 and in20 my conscience, my conscience is a kind of hard conscience, to offer21 to counsel me to stay with the Jew. Gobbo aside O heavens, this is my true-begotten24 father, who being more than sand-blind25 — high-gravel-blind26 — knows me not, I will try confusions with27 him.
Gobbo Talk you of young Master Lancelot? Gobbo Ergo Master Lancelot, talk not of Master Lancelot, 44 for the young gentleman according to fates and father, destinies, and such odd45 sayings, the sisters three,46 and such branches47 of learning, is indeed48 deceased, or as you would say in plain terms,49 gone to heaven.
Old Gobbo Marry God forbid, the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop. Do you know me, father? Old Gobbo Alack53 the day, I know you not, young gentleman, but I pray you tell me, is my boy — God rest his soul — alive or dead? Gobbo Do you not know me, father? Old Gobbo Alack sir, I am sand-blind, I know you not. Gobbo Nay, indeed if you had your eyes you might54 fail of the knowing me. It is a wise father that knows his own child. I am Lancelot your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be.
Old Gobbo I cannot think you are my son. Gobbo I know not what I shall56 think of that. Lord worshipped might he be! I am sure he had more hair of 59 his tail than I have60 of my face when I last saw him. Old Gobbo Lord how art thou changed. How dost thou and thy master agree? Gobbo Well, well, but for mine own part, as I have set up my 62 to run away, so I will not rest till I have run some63 rest 56 ought to, must 57 shaft-horse i. Father, I am glad you are come, give me67 your present to one Master Bassanio, who indeed gives rare new liveries.
To70 him father, for I am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer. See these letters delivered, put the liveries to making, and desire Gratiano to come anon72 to my lodging.
Gobbo To him father. Bassanio Gramercy. Bassanio One83 speak for both. What would you? Gobbo Serve you sir. Old Gobbo That is the very defect84 of the matter sir. Bassanio I know thee well, thou hast obtained thy suit.
See it done. Gobbo Father, in. Well, if 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 i. These things being bought and orderly bestowed, Return in haste, for I do feast tonight My best esteemed acquaintance. Hie thee, go. Leonardo Yonder sir, he walks.
Bassanio Gratiano. Gratiano I have a suit to you. Bassanio Why then you must. But hear thee Gratiano, Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice, Parts that become thee happily enough, And in such eyes as ours appear not faults, But where they are not known, why there they show Something too liberal. Gratiano Signor Bassanio, hear me. Bassanio No, that were pity.
But fare you well, I have some business. Gratiano And I must to Lorenzo and the rest. But we will visit you at supper time. Give him this letter, do it secretly. And so farewell: I would not have my father See me in talk with thee. Gobbo Adieu, tears exhibit3 my tongue. Most beautiful pagan, most sweet Jew, if a Christian do not play the knave and get thee, I am much deceived.
But adieu, these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit. But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not5 to his manners. Gratiano We have not made good preparation. Friend Lancelot. Gratiano Love news, in faith. Gobbo Marry sir, to bid10 my old master the Jew to sup tonight with my new master the Christian.
The Merchant of Venice
Lorenzo Hold here, take this. Go gentlemen, Will you prepare you for this masque11 tonight? I am provided of 12 a torchbearer.
Solanio And so will I. Lorenzo I must needs tell thee all. And never dare misfortune cross her foot,18 Unless she19 do it under this excuse, That she20 is issue21 to a faithless22 Jew.
Come go with me, peruse this23 as thou goest. Fair Jessica shall be my torchbearer. What Jessica? And3 sleep, and snore, and rend4 apparel out. Why Jessica, I say! Gobbo Why Jessica! Shylock Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call. Gobbo Your worship was wont5 to tell me I could do nothing without bidding.
What is your will? But wherefore8 should I go? I am right loath to go, There is some ill a-brewing12 towards my rest,13 For I did dream of money bags tonight. Gobbo And they have conspired16 together.
But I will go. Go you before me sirrah, Say I will come. Gobbo I will go before sir. Do as I bid you, shut doors after you. Gratiano And it is mervail4 he outdwells5 his hour, For lovers ever run before6 the clock. All things that are, Are with more spirit chased14 than enjoyed. Lorenzo Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode. Here dwells my father23 Jew. Jessica Lorenzo certain, and my love indeed,27 For who love I so much?
Lorenzo Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art. Jessica Here, catch this casket, it is worth the pains. Lorenzo Descend, for you must be my torchbearer. Shylock is at first reluctant to grant the loan, citing abuse he has suffered at Antonio's hand. He finally agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: if Antonio is unable to repay it at the specified date, Shylock may take a pound of Antonio's flesh.
Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition; Antonio is surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity no "usance" — interest — is asked for , and he signs the contract.
With money in hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him. Gratiano is a likeable young man, but he is often flippant, overly talkative, and tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control, and the two leave for Belmont. Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors.
Her father left a will stipulating that each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets, made of gold, silver and lead respectively. Whoever picks the right casket wins Portia's hand. The first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia. The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Aragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit.
Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath". The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before. Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted.
She took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah. Shylock has Antonio brought before court. At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock.
Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Gratiano and Portia's handmaid Nerissa. Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venice, with money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia sent her servant, Balthazar, to seek the counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua. The climax of the play is set in the court of the Duke of Venice. Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer of 6, ducats, twice the amount of the loan.
He demands his pound of flesh from Antonio.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify a contract, refers the case to a visitor. He identifies himself as Balthazar, a young male "doctor of the law", bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario. The doctor is Portia in disguise, and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man.
As Balthasar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speech , advising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" Act IV , Sc 1, Line However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh. As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance".
She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the blood, of Antonio see quibble. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws.
She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke. The Duke spares Shylock's life. Antonio asks for his share " in use " until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half share of the forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i.
Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and Antonio's gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it.
Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk, succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise. At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise V.Shakespeare says that the class of men he is describing, with their pompous attitude, expect every word they utter to be received with this kind of respect.
With money in hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him. He continues, however: therefore go forth Try what my credit can in Venice do,- That shall be rack'd even to the uttermost To furnish thee to Belmont to fair Portia.
Than my faint continuance, that my scanty income can enable to continue or keep up. The title page from a printing of Giovanni Fiorentino's 14th-century tale Il Pecorone The first page of The Merchant of Venice, printed in the Second Folio of The forfeit of a merchant's deadly bond after standing surety for a friend's loan was a common tale in England in the late 16th century. When Jessica and Lorenzo leave, Portia sends Balthazar to fetch some special clothes from her cousin and bring them to her at the Venice ferry station.
I shall use my utmost to help you secure the money to go to Belmont. Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Is she a victim or a villain?