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The Merchant of Venice

(The Comical History of theMerchant of

Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of


Scene I. Venice. A street.

List of characters in this scene:

Antonios servant

Odd passage of time in Merchant of Venice

Salanio and Salarinos conversation about the

alleged shipwreck of Antonios boats

Shylock comes and accuses them of helping Jessica

escape and he curses his daughters rebellion:

My own flesh and blood to rebel! and Salarino
responds: There is more difference between thy flesh
and hers than between jet and ivory; more between
your bloods than there is between red wine and
Shylock confirms that Antonio will soon be bankrupt

and swears to collect his bond and Salarino doubts

Shylocks resolve (flesh to feed his revenge)

Shylocks famous monologue determined to apply

lessons of hatred and revenge that Christian
intolerance taught him well:
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
villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but
I will better the instruction.

Can we sympathize with Shylock?

Question of mercy (refusal to take pity on

Antonio in conrast with the mercy shown to

him later by Christians)
Antonios servant informs Salarino and
Solanio that his master wants to see them and
they head of
Tubal, Shylocks friend enters and informs him
that he cannot find Jessica, Shylock wishes her
dead and mourns over his losses
Leahs ring only in the lines about this ring,
Shylock shows emotion:

turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:

I would not have given it for a wilderness of

sympathy for Jessica than for cruel

From glee to despair and back:
I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!
ha, ha! where? in Genoa?, later :Thou stickest
a dagger in me: I shall never see my gold
again: fourscore ducats at a sitting! fourscore
ducats! , and at the of the scene:I am very
glad of it: I'll plague him; I'll torture him: I am
glad of it.

Scene II. Belmont. A room in Portias

List of characters in this scene:


Portia does not want to lose Bassanio so she begs him

to delay choosing between caskets in order to choose
the right one but he insists on making his choice
Portia encourages Bassanio:

Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
Examining caskets

Gold casket: [t]he world is still deceived with ornament

Silver casket: pale and common drudge / Tween man and

Lead(en) casket score
Ring as promise of love and devotion: when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:
O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!
Love between Nerissa and Gratiano
Salarino spoils fest letter says that Shylock plans to
collect pound of Antonios flesh
Bessanio feels guilt
Jessica object of suspicion for others, testimony against
father act of loyalty
Portia ofers help but first wants wedding:

Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;

Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
After double wedding, (Portia and Bassanio,

Nerissa and Gratiano) Portia urges her

husband to rush to his friend and help him
and he leaves for Venice

Scene III. Venice. A street.

List of characters in this scene:

Shylock refuses to listen Antonio and he remembers

how many times Antonio called him a dog:
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs
Obsession with bond, no mercy:
I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
Revenge to Antonio = revenge to Venice
Antonio believes that Shylock hates him because he
bailed out many of his debtors
Convinced that Duke will not help because by breaking
the law, reputation and economy of Venice may sufer
Last wish: Pray God, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!

Scene IV. Belmont. A room in Portias house.

List of characters in this scene:


Lorenzo assures Portia that Antonio is worth of her

good deeds
Portia believes that helping Antonio is like

helping her own husband because they are so

inseparable (!?) :
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord.
Sworn to live in prayer and contemplation
until Bassanio returns, announces that she
and Nerissa will retire to nearby monastery
( just an excuse) and Lorenzo and Jessica will
rule the estate while they are absent

Sends Balthasar to Padua to meet doctor Bellario and to take

proper clothes and documents and then wait for her in Venice
Reveals plan to Nerissa who will accompany her

incognito visit to Venice

Cross-dressing: typical device from Shakespeares

comedies (even here Jessica dressed as boy before)

Portia dresses as man (feeling free after fulfilling

her fathers will) to test her husbands love and

loyalty but also to prove herself more capable and
intelligent than men around her (and she will
succeed in that)

Scene V. Belmont. A garden of Portias

List of characters in this scene:


Scene V acts as a comic relief

Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father

are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I

promise ye, I fear you.
Opening lines of this scene show Launcelots fear for

Jessicas soul who believes that her marriage to

Lorenzo will partly save her (becoming Christian will
save her!?)
Launcelots funny complaint about the conversion of
the Jews:
This making Christians will raise the
price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

Lorenzo enters and scolds Launcelot for

impregnating a Moorish servant
Jessicas opinion of Portia still trying to

become part of Portias society:

Past all expressing. It is very meet
The Lord Bassanio live an upright life;
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth