The Merchant of Venice

by William Shakespeare

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"A Daniel Come To Judgment"

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Context: When the debt became due, Antonio, a Venetian merchant, could not pay the 3000 ducats he had borrowed from Shylock to lend to his friend Bassanio so that he could woo and wed the rich heiress Portia. For his bond, Antonio had pledged to Shylock, who secretly hates him, a pound of flesh. The case is brought before the duke. Portia hears of it, and, disguised as a lawyer named Balthazar, she comes to court to defend Antonio. She gives her famous "Quality of mercy" speech but fails to move Shylock to mercy. He insists that the law must run its course. Bassanio, who does not recognize his wife, insists that since he can pay twice or ten times the sum of the debt, the court should "wrest once the law to [its] authority." But Portia urges, instead, that "there is no law in Venice / Can alter a decree established." Shylock, thinking he will be revenged on Antonio, congratulates Portia, likening her to Daniel, who was a judge in the Apocryphal book of Susannah.

A Daniel come to judgement. Yea a Daniel.
O wise young judge how I do honour thee.
But Shylock's approval of Portia is quickly destroyed, because she rules that Shylock may have his pound of flesh but nothing else.
. . .
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood,
The words expressly are a pound of flesh.
. . .
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
. . .

"A Harmless Necessary Cat"

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Context: Antonio's friend, Bassanio, seems to have lost heavily in commercial investments, and Antonio goes to the rich and usurious Jew, Shylock, to borrow enough money to save his friend. Shylock, pretending a jest, persuades Antonio to pledge a pound of his flesh nearest his heart as surety for the loan. When Antonio's investments seem to miscarry, Shylock appears to demand his due, and when the case comes up in the court of justice, the Duke, as judge, instructs Shylock to show mercy to Antonio. The Jew insists that he have his due and refuses to explain his cruelty:

. . .
You'll ask me why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats. I'll not answer that,
But say it is my humour; is it answered?
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 answered yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now for your answer.
As there is no firm reason to be rendered
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he–a harmless necessary cat;
Why he–a woollen bag-pipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame,
As to offend himself being offended;
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 answered?

"A Light Wife Doth Make A Heavy Husband"

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Context: In the early action of the play Antonio, the merchant, borrows money from Shylock, the usurious Jew, in order to save his friend Bassanio, whose ships are long overdue and feared lost. Shylock, pretending a jest, persuades Antonio to pledge the pound of flesh nearest his heart as surety for the loan. Antonio's investments also seem to fail, and Shylock brings his claim to court in order to collect his pound of flesh. At the trial Antonio is saved by a brilliant young lawyer who is, unknown to the men, the girl both have wooed and Bassanio has won, Portia, in disguise. After the trial Portia hurries home, where she meets Lorenzo and Jessica and swears them to secrecy concerning her part in the trial. Bassanio, Antonio, and several of their friends follow close behind:

Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet.
We are no tell-tales madam, fear you not.
This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me.
But God sort all. You're welcome home my lord.
I thank you madam. Give welcome to my friend.

"A Stage Where Every Man Must Play A Part, And Mine A Sad One"

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Context: This play seems to have been occasioned by an outbreak of anti-Semitism in London about 1594. In the play Antonio, the merchant, borrows money from the rich Jew, Shylock, in order to assist a friend, pledging, according to Shylock's diabolical demand, that pound of flesh nearest his heart as surety for the loan. When the play opens, however, no difficulties have arisen; yet Antonio is sad. His friend, Solanio, insists that if business reverses have not occasioned the sadness, then Antonio must be in love. They encounter three friends, and after some conversation Antonio; Bassanio, the friend Antonio will assist later in the play; Gratiano; and Lorenzo are left on stage. Gratiano in his turn tries to cheer up Antonio:

You look not well Signior Antonio,
You have too much respect upon the world.
They lose it that do buy it with much care;
Believe me you are marvellously changed.
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Let me play the fool;
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
. . .

"A Swan-like End"

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Context: The belief that the swan, which is otherwise voiceless, recognizes its coming death and sings before it occurs is at least as old as Socrates. The expression "swan song" is firmly entrenched in our language and the idea is used in Chaucer's The Parlement of Foules (1372-1386), and elsewhere in Shakespeare–Othello (1604), Act V, sc. 2, l. 245. It was also used by Byron in Don Juan (Canto III, stanza 86, l. 16). In The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio, who is in love with the rich heiress Portia, but is unable to marry her unless, according to her father's will, he choose the casket among the three–golden, silver and lead–which contains her portrait, wants to try his luck, because, he confesses, in his uncertainty he lives "upon the rack." Portia, however, wishes him to delay making the choice because she likes his company and is afraid she will lose him because he will select the wrong casket. Portia consents, however, and cautions him:

Away, then, I am locked in one of them,
If you do love me, you will find me out.
. . .
Let music sound while he doth make his choice:
Then if he lose he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music.
. . .

"An Honest Exceeding Poor Man"

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Context: Gobbo, old and blind, stumbles along a street in Venice, searching for his son, Lancelot Gobbo, who is employed by the wealthy Jew, Shylock. Lancelot is also walking along the same street, debating with his conscience whether to quit the service of Shylock in favor of the service of the young gentleman Bassanio. Old Gobbo comes upon Lancelot, but, because he is blind and because Lancelot has matured, does not recognize his son, who jests with his father, suggesting that Gobbo must be seeking "Master Lancelot" rather than a menial.

Be God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one Lancelot that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?
Talk you of young Master Lancelot? [aside.] Mark me now, now will I raise the waters.–Talk you of young Master Lancelot?
No master sir, but a poor man's son. His father though I say it is an honest exceeding poor man, and God be thanked well to live.
Well, let his father be what 'a will, we talk of young Master Lancelot.

"Hath Not A Jew Eyes?"

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Context: Shylock, a wealthy Jew of Venice, lends Bassanio three thousand ducats to aid in his quest of the hand of the fair Portia. Antonio, "the merchant of Venice," agrees to stand bond for Bassanio and promises Shylock a pound of his flesh if, by chance, his many ships fail to produce the expected revenue. With apprehension Salanio and Salerio, friends of Bassanio, note the failure of one after another of Antonio's vessels. Hence they query Shylock.

Why I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh, what's that good for?
To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what's 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? . . .

"How Far That Little Candle Throws His Beams"

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Context: The heiress Portia, wife of Bassanio, returns to her home, Belmont, after disguising herself as a wise young judge and freeing Antonio, benefactor of Bassanio, from the forefeiture of Shylock's wicked bond–the payment of a pound of flesh since Antonio's ships had failed to come to port. As Portia and her handmaiden, Nerissa, near Belmont, Portia speaks.

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.
When the moon shone we did not see the candle.
So doth the greater glory dim the less.
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. . . .

"How Much More Elder Art Thou Than Thy Looks"

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Context: In a Venetian court Portia, the fair bride of Bassanio, in disguise as a young judge, rescues Antonio, Bassanio's friend, from the fate of having the venomous Jew, Shylock, cut one pound of his flesh as forfeiture of a bond which the merchant Antonio has stood for Bassanio to aid in his suit of Portia. As the trial begins, Shylock interprets the words of the judge to mean that, according to the bargain, Shylock may rightfully claim the heart of Antonio. Antonio demands to hear the sentence, Portia speaks, and Shylock, joyously assuming that he has won the case, pronounces the wisdom of the youthful justice.

Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.
Why then thus it is,
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
O noble judge, o excellent young man!
For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge,
How much more elder art thou than thy looks.

"I Am Sir Oracle"

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Context: Antonio, "the merchant of Venice," confesses to his friends, Salerio and Salanio, that he is plagued with sadness, not over his trading business, since his fortune rests with many vessels, nor over his love affairs. Salerio and Salanio, having tried in vain to cheer Antonio, leave when Antonio is joined by his close friend, Bassanio, and his companions, Lorenzo and Gratiano. Gratiano, noted for his loquaciousness, also tries to convince Antonio to leave off his sadness, pointing out the folly of those who vainly feign wisdom by a dour countenance:

There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!

"I Am Never Merry When I Hear Sweet Music"

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Context: Lorenzo, friend of Bassanio, and his bride Jessica, daughter of the Jew Shylock, talk tenderly on a moonlit night along the avenue to Belmont, home of the heiress Portia and her husband Bassanio. Though messengers inform the pair of the return of Portia and Bassanio, Lorenzo and Jessica delay the preparations for the home-coming of the master and mistress of the house. Lorenzo orders music, commenting that on such a night the soul can almost hear the harmony of the spheres. In a light mood, Lorenzo greets the musicians, but Jessica replies that she is not merry when she hears sweet music.

. . .
Come ho, and wake Diana with a hymn,
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music. [Music plays.]
I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
The reason is, your spirits are attentive. . . .

"In Such A Night Stood Dido"

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Context: Jessica, daughter of the Jew Shylock, and her husband, Lorenzo, friend of Bassanio, talk poetically on a moonlit night along the avenue to Belmont, home of the heiress Portia, recent bride of Bassanio. The lovers are reminded that on a night such as this Dido, Queen of Carthage, holding a willow branch, symbol of unrequited love, waited vainly for the return of her beloved Æneas.

In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea banks, and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
In such a night
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.

"It Is A Wise Father That Knows His Own Child"

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Context: Lancelot Gobbo, the servant of Shylock, debates with himself whether he should run away from his master. He meets his father, Gobbo, who is "more than sand-blind, high gravel-blind." Gobbo inquires the way to Shylock's house because he wants to see his son Lancelot, whom he does not recognize. When Lancelot Gobbo discovers that his father does not know him, he teases the old man. Finally, half seriously, Lancelot asks his father if he does not really know him, Gobbo, his son. The old man answers that, being blind, he does not know his son. To this Lancelot replies, in the aphorism that is popular today:

. . . It is a wise father that knows his own child. . . . Truth will come to light, murder cannot be hid long; a man's son may, but in the end truth will out.

"Let Him Pass For A Man"

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Context: Portia, a rich heiress, has been condemned to marry by chance. Her father, now dead, willed that she should be the wife of the man who, choosing among three caskets–golden, silver, and lead–should select the correct one, that is, the lead one which contains Portia's portrait. Portia, witty and charming, is talking the matter over with Nerissa, her waiting maid, and is chafing over the choice given her. One of her suitors she calls a "colt indeed," whose "mother played false with a smith." As for him and another, Portia "had rather be married to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these." Nerissa next asks Portia about the French lord, and Portia replies:

God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth I know it is a sin to be a mocker, but he–why he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man . . . he will fence with his own shadow. If I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. . . .

"Love Is Blind"

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Context: Lorenzo, a Venetian Christian, is in love with Jessica, daughter of the Jew usurer Shylock. They plan to elope. To assist them, two friends, Gratiano and Salerio, meet before Shylock's house. Lorenzo is late in arriving, but he finally comes. Jessica appears above, in boy's clothes. She then descends, bearing a chest of her father's wealth. Then she speaks to her lover:

Here, catch this casket, it is worth the pains.
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange.
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
. . .

"Quiring To The Young-eyed Cherubins"

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Context: As Lorenzo, friend of Bassanio, and his bride Jessica, daughter of the Jew Shylock, speak tenderly on a moonlit night along the avenue to Belmont, home of Portia and her husband Bassanio, they are interrupted by messengers telling of the arrival of the master and mistress of the house. Lorenzo and Jessica, who feel duty-bound to oversee the preparations for the return of Bassanio and Portia, nevertheless put off going inside. Lorenzo orders the servants to call for music, reminding Jessica that the soul, if it were not hindered by the lowly flesh, could, on such a night, hear the choirs of cherubim produced by the harmony of the universe.

Sit Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

"Suffrance Is The Badge Of All Our Tribe"

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Context: To further his quest for the hand of the fair Portia, Bassanio, a young gentleman of Venice, seeks a loan from his friend Antonio, a merchant in Venice. Since Antonio cannot advance the money to Bassanio until his ships come to port, Shylock, a rich Jew, is approached for a temporary loan. Though Shylock hates and is hated by the Gentiles, he agrees to lend Bassanio three thousand ducats with Antonio standing bond. Pointing out the irony of the request for a loan by one who has badly mistreated him at the Rialto, the Venetian exchange, Shylock says:

Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys 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, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.

"Tell Me Where Is Fancy Bred"

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Context: According to the will of her father, the lovely heiress Portia must marry whichever suitor who, selecting among three caskets, golden, silver, and lead, selects the casket of lead which contains the portrait of Portia. Of all her suitors Portia loves only Bassanio, but she cannot, even for love, break her father's dying wish by revealing to Bassanio which casket to choose. She devises the scheme, however, of having music to aid Bassanio in his choice, and to provide a fitting flourish if he should fail. This song is sung:

Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head,
How begot, how nourished?
All. Reply, reply.
It is engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed, and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell;
I'll begin it, ding, dong, bell.
All. Ding, dong, bell.

"The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His Purpose"

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Context: Bassanio, a poor noble Venetian, wants to marry the wealthy heiress Portia. He asks his friend Antonio, a rich merchant, for 3000 ducats. Antonio, temporarily without funds, tries to borrow the money from Shylock, a rich Jew, who accumulated his wealth by usury. Shylock hates Antonio because he lends money without interest, thus lowering Shylock's interest rate. Shylock agrees to lend the money with the understanding that if it is not repaid in three months, Antonio must forfeit a pound of flesh. Antonio and Bassanio meet Shylock and are arranging the loan, but Shylock apparently holds back. He points out how Jacob in the Bible pulled an underhand trick to profit himself. Shylock says, ". . . Thrift is blessing, if men steal it not." Shylock then adds that he makes his money increase as rapidly as possible. To this remark Antonio responds to Bassanio:

. . .
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath.

"The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strained"

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Context: In Venice, Bassanio, a nobleman, has borrowed from Shylock, a Jewish usurer, three thousand ducats with which to court the beautiful heiress, Portia. His friend Antonio is bound as surety for the payment of the debt. In pretended jest, Shylock requires that, if the debt is not paid on the right day, he will be allowed to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio's body. Antonio accepts the strange condition, not knowing that Shylock hates him for lending money at no interest, thus damaging the Jew's business. When the appointed day arrives, Antonio cannot pay the money and is brought into court to forfeit his bond. The Duke pleads for mercy from Shylock, and Bassanio offers twice the sum of the debt; but Shylock is adamant in demanding the flesh. Portia, meanwhile, has disguised herself as a lawyer and now appears in the court. First, she appeals to Shylock's sense of mercy, in the famous speech that begins:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes. . . .

"The Shadowed Livery Of The Burnished Sun"

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Context: Portia, wealthy Venetian heiress, is bound by her late father's will to be chosen for wife by lottery. All suitors will choose among three caskets–one golden, one silver, and one lead. The lead is the correct one, for it contains her portrait. Among her suitors, Portia has no choice. The Prince of Morocco comes to woo her. He tells her:

Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
To whom I am a neighbor, and near bred.
. . .
. . . if my father had not scanted me,
And hedged me by his will to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have looked on yet
For my affection.

"There Is No Vice So Simple, But Assumes Some Mark Of Virtue"

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Context: Bassanio, in love with the heiress Portia, can marry her only if, according to her father's will, he choose from among three caskets–golden, silver and lead–the one which contains her portrait. Now he stands before the three, trying to choose correctly and debating which one he shoud select. He argues with himself, knowing that the world "is still deceived with ornament." He then broods on the lesson taught in his statement. He debates further, and finally chooses:

There is no vice so simple, but assumes
some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
. . .
. . . Therefore thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee.
Nor none of thee thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man. But thou, thou meagre lead
Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
And here chose I, joy be the consequence.
. . .
What find I here? [Opens the leaden casket]
Fair Portia's counterfeit.
. . .

"To Do A Great Right, Do A Little Wrong"

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Context: Antonio is in danger of having to forfeit a pound of flesh because he is unable to repay three thousand ducats to Shylock, the Venetian usurer, which he borrowed to lend to his friend Bassanio. Bassanio has prospered both in marrying Portia and in becoming wealthy. At the trial of Antonio, Bassanio says that he will gladly pay the sum of Antonio's debt ten times over if Shylock will allow Antonio to go free. Portia, unknown to her husband, has come to defend Antonio. Shylock remains obdurate in demanding forfeit of a pound of flesh. Bassanio, after being frustrated in getting Shylock to relent, requests that Balthazar, who is Portia in disguise, bend the law to achieve justice. His request and her refusal go thus:

. . . And I beseech you
Wrest once the law to your authority,
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
It must not be, there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established.
'Twill be recorded for a precedent
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state.
. . .

"Troilus Mounted The Trojan Walls"

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Context: Along the moonlit avenue to Belmont, home of the fair heiress Portia, bride of Bassanio, Bassanio's friend, Lorenzo, and his bride Jessica, daughter of Shylock, talk poetically. They are reminded that on such a night the legendary Troilus, hero of Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer and of Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare, looked longingly from the height of the Trojan wall toward the Greek camp where his beloved Cressida lay:

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,
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents
Where Cressid lay that night.
In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew,
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismayed away.
. . .
In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,
As far as Belmont.

"Well Paid That Is Well Satisfied"

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Context: Portia, fair bride of Bassanio, disguised as a youthful judge, pronounces sentence upon the vengeful Jew Shylock, who has insisted upon the forfeiture of the bond of the ill-fated "merchant of Venice," Antonio–the forfeiture being a pound of Antonio's flesh. Portia, wisely noting that the promise includes a pound of flesh, but no blood, directs Shylock to proceed with the forfeiture at his own risk. As Shylock retracts his demand, Portia adds that since he, an alien, has threatened the life of a Venetian, the law requires that his own possessions be forfeited, half to the wronged citizen and half to the state. Bassanio and Antonio seek to express their gratitude to the judge by paying a large fee, but Portia refuses to accept payment:

He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid.
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you know me when we meet again,
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
Dear Sir, of force I must attempt you further.
Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,
Not as a fee. Grant me two things I pray you,
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

"What A Goodly Outside Falsehood Hath!"

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Context: The young Venetian gentleman, Bassanio, asks the assistance of the merchant Antonio, in seeking a loan to aid in his quest for the hand of the lovely Portia. Antonio, however, cannot immediately supply the demand of Bassanio, since his wealth depends upon the return of his ships. Shylock, a Jew who has felt the hatred of Gentiles and who, in turn, has despised them, agrees, notwithstanding, to advance the loan. Antonio protests the Jewish custom of charging usery and condemns Shylock for backing his stand by quoting the scriptural story of Jacob's devious acquisition of the best of the flock of his father-in-law, Laban:

Mark you this Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath.

"What News On The Rialto?"

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Context: Bassanio, a young Venetian gentleman, in plying his quest for the hand of fair Portia, seeks an additional loan from Antonio, "the merchant of Venice." Antonio, however, whose funds are tied up with ships in many ports, must in turn seek a temporary creditor. Hence, Bassanio approaches the Jew, Shylock, who agrees to advance three thousand ducats with the stipulation that Antonio shall stand bond. Shylock, refusing Bassanio's invitation to discuss the deal while they dine, gives vent to his hatred for Gentiles and, on hearing Antonio approach, asks the latest report on the Venetian exchange, the Rialto:

Yes, to smell pork, to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following. But I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto?
Who is he come here?

"You Take My Life When You Do Take The Means Whereby I Live"

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Context: Portia, in defending Antonio against Shylock, argues that Shylock is indeed entitled to the pound of flesh that Antonio put as bond against the 3000 ducats he borrowed for his friend Bassanio. But she says that since there is nothing in the contract about any blood, if Shylock spills one drop of Christian blood his life will be forfeited. Shylock, realizing that his evil design has been frustrated, tries to recover his 3000 ducats, saying he will be satisfied. Portia, however, invoking a law against any alien who seeks the life of a citizen, tells Shylock that half his property is forfeited to Antonio and the other half to the state, Shylock protests against the severity of this law:

Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that.
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house. You take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.

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