ACT I, SCENE 1 Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains to hisfriends, Salarino and Solanio, that he feels sad and does notknow why. His friend try to provide various explanations forAntonio’s sadness. Salarino and Solanio suggest that his sadness must be dueto his preoccupation with his trade and the fate of his ships.His ships are out there with goods; if they return safely, hellbe rich, but if they dont, hell be in trouble. Salarino says it is impossible for Antonio not to feel sad atthe thought that his ship might sink and the consequentlosses. But Antonio assures his friends that his ships are not thecause of his sadness because his ventures do not depend onthe safe passage of any one ship. Solanio isnt satisfied and suggests that Antonio might bein love.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO Stage directionsANTONIOIn sooth, I know not why I am so sad: In sooth = In truthIt wearies me; you say it wearies you;But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,What stuff tis made of, whereof it is born,I am to learn; 5And such a want-wit sadness makes of me, Want-wit =IdiotThat I have much ado to know myself. Ado = troubleSALARINOYour mind is tossing on the ocean; Argosies = shipsThere, where your argosies with portly sail,Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, Portly = dignifiedOr, as it were, the pageants of the sea,Do overpeer the petty traffickers, Where your shipsThat curtsy to them, do them reverence, tower above theAs they fly by them with their woven wings. small boats....... ...... ........ ............. .
Bassanio, Antonio’skinsman, enters, walking with two friendsLorenzo and Gratiano. Salarino and Solaniobid Antonio farewell and depart. Graziano has noticed that Antonio lookssad and suggests that the merchant worriestoo much about business and that the wholeworld does not deserve that much attention. Antonio replies that the world for him isnothing more than a play and everyone playsa role; his role is a sad one.
ANTONIO Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it, 15 My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year: Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.SALARINO Why, then you are in love.ANTONIO Fie, fie!SALARINO Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad, Because you are not merry: . . . .
GRATIANO You look not well, Signior Antonio; You have too much respect upon the world: They lose it that do buy it with much care: 75 Believe me, you are marvellously changed. marvellously =ANTONIO amazingly I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one.GRATIANO Let me play the fool: With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
Graziano exits with Lorenzo, leaving Bassanioand Antonio to talk. Antonio asks about Bassanios "secretpilgrimage" to see a lady. Bassanio admits that although he alreadyowes Antonio a lot of money from hisearlier, more extravagant days, he has fallen inlove with Portia, a rich heiress from Belmont, andhopes to win her heart. In order to propose toPortia, however, Bassanio says that he needs toborrow more money from Antonio. Antonio replies that he cannot give Bassanioanother loan, as all his money is tied up inbusiness.
ANTONIO Well, tell me now what lady is the same To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage, That you to-day promised to tell me of?BASSANIO You know well how I Tis not unknown to you, Antonio, wasted a lot of money How much I have disabled mine estate, In the past by spending By something showing a more swelling port more than my income Than my faint means would grant continuance: 125 would allow. Nor do I now make moan to be abridged From such a noble rate; but my chief care Is to come fairly off from the great debts Gagged = burdened Wherein my time something too prodigal Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio, I owe the most, in money and in love, And from your love I have a warranty To unburden all my plots and purposes Warranty = permission How to get clear of all the debts I owe.ANTONIO I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; And if it stand, as you yourself still do, Within the eye of honour, be assured, My purse, my person, my extremest means, Lie all unlockd to your occasions. = to your needs
BASSANIO In Belmont is a lady richly left; And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages: Her name is Portia, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........... ....................... .. O my Antonio, had I but the means To hold a rival place with one of them, I have a mind presages me such thrift, That I should questionless be fortunate!ANTONIO Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea; Neither have I money nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth; Try what my credit can in Venice do: That shall be rackd, 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.
ACT I, SCENE 2 At Belmont, Portia complains to her woman-in-waiting, Nerissa, that shes tired of the world. Nerissa pointsout that being rich doesnt mean that she is free from problems. Portia can neither choose nor refuse a husband, but mustinstead follow her dead fathers will. he set up a lottery todetermine who Portia would marry. The lottery involves threechests – one gold, one silver, and one lead. Whoever choosesthe correct chest gets Portia. But there is a penalty for thosewho choose wrongly; they have to swear never to marryanymore. Nerissa is somehow convinced that whoever chooses rightlywill truly love Portia, too. Portia asks Nerissa to list off each ofthe suitors so she can judge each one of them.
PORTIA . . . O me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?NERISSA Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?PORT I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
Nerissa lists the suitors who have come to guess—aNeapolitan prince, a Palatine count, a French nobleman,an English baron, a Scottish lord, and the nephew of theduke of Saxony, and Portia criticizes their many funnyfaults. For instance, she says that the Neapolitan prince is toofond of his horse, the Palatine count is too serious, theEnglishman has no proper manners and lacks anyknowledge of Italian or any of the other languages Portiaspeaks, and the German suitor of drunkenness. Each of these suitors has left without even attemptinga guess for fear of the penalty for guessing wrong. This factrelieves Portia. Both she and Nerissa remember Bassanio, who hasvisited once before, as the suitor most deserving andworthy of praise. A servant enters to tell Portia that theprince of Morocco will arrive soon, news that Portia is notat all happy to hear.
NERISSA Do you not remember, lady, in your fathers time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?PORTIA Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so 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.Enter a Serving-manHow now! what news?Servant The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave: and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the prince his master will be here to-night.
ACT I, SCENE 3 On the streets of Venice, Bassanio talks withShylock, a Jewish moneylender, to have a loan of3000 ducats, on Antonio’s credit. Bassanio assures Shylock that Antonio willguarantee the loan, but Shylock is doubtful becauseAntonio’s wealth is currently invested in businessventures that may fail. In the end, Shylock agrees tolend Bassanio the 3000 ducats. Antonio arrives, and at that time Shylock speaksto himself in an aside, expressing his hatred ofAntonio.
SHYLOCK [Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian, But more for that in low simplicity Gratis = free of charge He lends out money gratis and brings down The rate of usance here with us in Venice. If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation, and he rails, Even there where merchants most do congregate, On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift, Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe, If I forgive him!
Shylock remembers themany times that Antonio hascursed him, calling him a dog,and insulted him publicly forlending with interest. Antoniosays that he might do so again,and insists that Shylock lendhim the money as an enemy.
SHYLOCK Signior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my moneys and my usances: Rated me: Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, abused me For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. Sufferance: You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, patient suffering And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, 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 moneys: you say so; You, that did void your rheum upon my beard = spit And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur = stray dog Over your threshold: moneys is your suit What should I say to you? Should I not say Hath a dog money? is it possible A cur can lend three thousand ducats? Or Shall I bend low and in a bondmans key, With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this; Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; You spurnd me such a day; another time You calld me dog; and for these courtesies Ill lend you thus much moneys?
Assuring Antonio that he means tobe friends, Shylock offers to make theloan without interest. Instead, hesuggests, seemingly in jest, thatAntonio forfeit a pound of his ownflesh should the loan not be repaid indue time. In spite of Bassanios insistence thatAntonio does not risk his flesh, Antoniois confident that hell have the moneybefore the debt is due.
ACT II, SCENE 1 In Belmont, the prince of Morocco arrives toattempt to win Portia’s hand in marriage. The princeasks Portia not to judge him by his darkcomplexion, assuring her that he is as valorous as anyEuropean man. the prince asks Portia to lead him tothe caskets, where he may venture his guess. Shereminds him that the penalty for guessing incorrectlyis that he must remain unmarried forever. The princeaccepts this stipulation, and Portia leads him off todinner.
ACT II, SCENE 2 Launcelot Gobbo, a servant of Shylock’s, strugglesto decide whether or not he should run away from hismaster. He sees his Jewish master as “a kind of devil”.His father, Old Gobbo, enters. The old man is blind, andhe asks how to get to Shylock’s house, where he hopesto find young Launcelot. Launcelot confesses to hisfather that he is leaving Shylock’s employment in thehopes of serving Bassanio. Just then, Bassanio entersand the two plead with him to accept Launcelot as hisservant. Bassanio accepts the offer. Bassanio thenmeets Gratiano, who asks to accompany him toBelmont. The two men plan a night of merriment tocelebrate their departure.
ACT II, SCENES 3 &4Act 2, Scene 3 Shylock’s daughter Jessica bids Launcelot farewell and gives him a letter to deliver to Lorenzo. Alone, she regrets that she is Shylock’s daughter but takes heart in the prospect of marrying Lorenzo and converting to Christianity.Act 2, Scene 4 On a street in Venice, Lorenzo, with Gratiano, Salerio, and Solanio, are preparing for a MASQUE, when Launcelot arrives with the letter from Jessica. Lorenzo gives him a message for Jessica: he, Lorenzo, shall not fail her. Salerio and Solanio leave, and Lorenzo tells Gratiano that Jessica will elope with him that evening, disguising herself as Lorenzo’s torchbearer.
ACT II, SCENE 5 & 6Act 2, Scene 5 Launcelot delivers an invitation to dinner fromBassanio to Shylock and hints to Jessica that Lorenzois about to arrive.Act 2, Scene 6 Lorenzo, accompanied by Gratiano and Salerio,takes Jessica from Shylock’s house. Antonio entersand gives Gratiano the message that Bassanio ispreparing to leave for Belmont, Portia’s estate.
ACT II, SCENE 7 With Portia, Morocco reads the inscriptions on thecaskets. The gold one promises “what many mendesire”; the silver offers as much as the chooserdeserves; the lead warns that the chooser “mustgive and hazard all he hath.” Morocco rejects thelead as a plainly foolish choice and the silver asinadequate. He selects the gold casket but findsinside it a rhyme informing him that he has lost. Hedeparts, to Portia’s relief.
ACT II, SCENE 8 Salerio and Solanio gossip aboutShylock’s hysterical discovery that Jessicahas fled and taken much of his money.They reflect that Shylock’s anger will affectAntonio if he fails to repay his debt, andthey worry that a rich Venetianship, reported lost, may be one of his.
SALANIO I never heard a passion so confused, So strange, outrageous, and so variable, As the dog Jew did utter in the streets: My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter! A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter! And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl; She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.
ACT II, SCENE 9 The Prince of Arragon ventures to choose one ofthe caskets to win Portia’s hand. He rejects thegold’s offer of “what many men desire” as thechoice of the foolish multitudes who value outwardappearance. Feeling that he is quite worthy, heelects the silver casket’s promise of as much as hedeserves. However, a rhyme inside the casketannounces his failure, and he leaves. A Messengerbrings word that a young Venetian intends to enterthe lottery of the caskets. Portia and Nerissa hopethat he will prove to be Bassanio.
ACT III, SCENE 1 Solanio and Salerio discuss the rumored loss ofAntonio’s ship. Shylock appears and curses Jessica; healso rails against Antonio, vowing that he will collect hispound of flesh as revenge for Antonio’s anti-Semitism.Shylock observes that Jews are like Christians in bodilyrespects, and he will prove that their desire for revengeis also the same. A message from Antonio causes thegentlemen to depart, and Shylock’s friend Tubal arrives.Tubal reports that he has been unable to findJessica, but he has heard of her extravagance with herfather’s money. Shylock is frantic about his lostwealth, but Tubal also tells his friend that Antonio hassuffered further losses and is said to be bankrupt.Shylock becomes overjoyed.
SHYLOCK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my ruined bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and whats his reason? 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. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
ACT III, SCENE 2 Portia asks Bassanio to postpone choosing amongthe caskets, for he must leave if he fails and she hasfallen in love with him. Bassanio, however, cannottolerate the suspense, and he proceeds to his selection.He rejects the gold and silver as representing falsebeauty and expensive show, and he opens the leadcasket. Inside he finds Portia’s picture and a textconfirming that he has won her hand. She gives him aring, which he swears to wear until he dies. Gratianoand Nerissa reveal that they have also fallen inlove, and a double wedding is proposed. Salerio arrivesfrom Venice with Lorenzo and Jessica. He tells Bassaniothat Antonio has lost all his vessels and that Shylock hassaid that he will demand the pound of flesh. Portiaoffers to pay Shylock many times over.
ACT III, SCENES 3, 4 & 5Act 3, Scene 3 Antonio, in the custody of a Gaoler, approaches Shylock, but the Jew will not speak to him; he angrily repeats his demand for the pound of flesh and departs. Antonio prepares to die; he hopes only to see Bassanio again.Act 3, Scene 4 Portia instructs her servant Balthasar to deliver a letter to her cousin in Padua. He is then to meet her with the documents and clothing the cousin will give him. She tells Nerissa of her plan: They shall go to Venice disguised as men.Act 3, Scene 5 Launcelot, as a fool, impudently jests with Jessica and Lorenzo, who then chat tenderly.
ACT IV, SCENE 1 The court of law in Venice convenes totry Antonio. The Duke expresses pity forAntonio and describes Shylock as aninhuman monster who has no mercy.Shylock then is summoned and asked tobe merciful, but he refuses.
DUKE What, is Antonio here?ANTONIO Ready, so please your grace.DUKE I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch = an enemy uncapable of pity, void and empty 5 From any dram of mercy. = ounceANTONIO I have heard Your grace hath taen great pains to qualify His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate = inflexible And that no lawful means can carry me Out of his envys reach, I do oppose My patience to his fury, and am armd To suffer, with a quietness of spirit, The very tyranny and rage of his. (page131)
SHYLOCK I have possessd your grace of what I purpose; 35 = told And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn To have the due and forfeit of my bond: If you deny it, let the danger light Upon your charter and your citys freedom. Youll ask me, why I rather choose to have = dead meat A weight of carrion flesh than to receive Three thousand ducats: Ill not answer that: But, say, it is my humour: is it answerd? What if my house be troubled with a rat And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats To have it baned? What, are you answerd yet? = poisoned .......... ............................. So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing I bear Antonio, that I follow thus A losing suit against him. Are you answerd?
The Duke announces that hehas sent to a scholar from Paduafor a legal opinion. Portia andNerissa arrive, disguised as alawyer (Balthasar) and hisclerk, sent by the scholar. Portiainterviews Shylock and Antonio.
PORTIA = Mercy is not The quality of mercy is not straind, forced upon It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven people. Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: = Mercy is a Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes 185 double blessing. The throned monarch better than his crown; It blesses the one who gives it His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, and the one The attribute to awe and majesty, who receives it. Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; Scepter And earthly power doth then show likest Gods When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, 195 That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; .......................................SHYLOCK My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond. (Page 143)
After Shylock repeatedlydemands strict justice, sheawards him his pound of flesh butprohibits him from shedding anyblood, for blood is notmentioned in the bond.
PORTIA A pound of that same merchants flesh is thine: The court awards it, and the law doth give it.SHYLOCK Most rightful judge!PORTIA And you must cut this flesh from off his breast: The law allows it, and the court awards it.SHYLOCK Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!PORTIA Tarry a little; there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are a pound of flesh: Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; 305 But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice.GRATIANO O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!SHYLOCK Is that the law?PORTIA Thyself shalt see the act: For, as thou urgest justice, be assured Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest. (page 151)
Realizing that he is beaten, Shylock says he will acceptthe money, but Portia rules that he shall have only theexact justice he has demanded: He may attempt to extracthis bloodless flesh, or he may withdraw his suit, but hecannot claim the money. Shylock concedes defeat and isabout to leave when Portia further rules that, as a non-Venetian who has attempted to take the life of a citizen, heis subject to the death penalty—unless the Duke pardonshim—and to the confiscation of all his possessions. TheDuke permits him to live, and Antonio suggests that he beallowed to keep half of his earthly goods in exchange forconverting to Christianity and giving the other half toLorenzo and Jessica. Shylock agrees to these terms. The Paduan lawyer (Portia) refuses a fee but asksBassanio for his ring as a token of thanks. Herefuses, saying that it was a sacred gift from his wife, buthe repents after she leaves, accusing himself ofingratitude. He sends Gratiano to give the ring to thelawyer.
ACT IV, SCENE 2 Gratiano gives the ring to Portia, who askshim todirect her clerk (Nerissa) to Shylock’shouse to deliver the deed that themoneylender must sign. Nerissa tells Portiathat she will contrive to get Gratiano to giveher his ring as well.
ACT V Lorenzo and Jessica enjoy the moonlightand music at Belmont, joyfully comparingthemselves to various famous lovers. Portiaand Nerissa enter, followed by Bassanio,Gratiano, and Antonio. The women“discover” that their husbands no longerhave their rings, and they reprimand themseverely. Finally Portia reveals the truth, andthe party moves indoors to celebrate theirreunion.