The Merchant of Venice is the story of the young Venetian nobleman Bassiano and his quest to woo the beautiful Portia. Strapped for cash and in need of money to court Portia, Bassiano takes a loan from the generous but anti-Semitic Antonio, the titular merchant, who in turn must borrow from the Jewish moneylender Shylock. Shylock hopes to exact vengeance upon Antonio for his prejudice, but in the end Bassiano marries Portia and Antonio is able to repay his loan.
The Merchant of Venice is one of William Shakespeare's best-known plays. It was written between 1596 and 1598.
And mine a sad one. Gratiano Let me play the fool.
And do a willful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd 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!"
For saying nothing.
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth; and by adventuring both,
I oft found both.
Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages.
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.
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek;
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
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.
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 would 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 possibleA cur can lend three thousand ducats? or
Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness,
Fair sir, you spet on me Wednesday last;You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me— dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much monies?
The thoughts of others!
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why, there they show
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty,
Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior,
I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
And lose my hopes.
Is the fair hand that writ.
How like a younker, or a prodigal,
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent, and beggar’d by the strumpet wind!
And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul.
Many a man his life hath sold,
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd.
Fare you well, your suit is cold.
Of his return: he answer'd, 'Do not so;
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew's bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there:'
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible
He wrung Bassanio's hand; and so they parted.
Solanio: I think he only loves the world for him.
That did never choose miss.
Some there be that shadow's kiss,
And have but a shadow's bliss.
There be fools alive, iwis,
Silver'd o'er, and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head:
So be gone; you are sped.
I stand for judgement: answer— shall I have it?
Drops earliest to the ground.
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
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;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer, doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
Shylock: I cannot find it: 'tis not in the bond.
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death.
And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh ; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood , thy lands and goodsAre by the laws of Venice confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
That doth sustain my house; you take my life,
When you do take the means whereby I live.
Creep in our ears: soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines 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.
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd!