In Act I, Scene i of The Merchant of Venice, please explain: " In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight The self-same way, with more advised watch,...

1 Answer | Add Yours

durbanville's profile pic

Posted on

In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio is still discussing his melancholy with Gratiano when Bassanio, Antonio's most dear friend, arrives with a favor to ask Antonio.Antonio knows there is a "lady" involved and is anxious to hear about her, just as Bassanio had promised.   

In order to visit this lady, Bassanio needs to borrow some money because as Antonio knows  "my behavior, sometimes reckless
And wasteful, has left me broke." Having reassured Bassanio that "my purse, my person, My utmost ability can be used for your benefit" Antonio waits to hear Bassanio's story.

Bassanio starts with an analogy of how when he was a school boy and lost an arrow or "shaft" in practice, he would shoot another arrow "the self-same way." By paying sufficient attention to the direction of the second arrow, he would then be able to find both arrows. He now relates this story to his present circumstances and although he has not yet paid Antonio back for money he already loaned, "Lend me money in the identical way That you lent me the first money" is his plea so that he can then "find both sums" or at the very least return the second sum and only be indebted for the first.

Antonio is a little irritated by Bassanio's attempts at "examples"  and expects Bassanio to know well enough that "I am committed to it; so, ask me" upon which Bassanio explains about Portia and how, if he has the means, he can compete with other suitors for her hand in marriage.


We’ve answered 327,683 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question