The Merchant of Venice
|ACT III SCENE I||Venice. A street.|
|[Enter SALANIO and SALARINO]|
|SALANIO||Now, what news on the Rialto?|
|SALARINO||Why, yet it lives there uncheck’d that Antonio hath|
|a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas;|
|the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very|
|dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcasses of many|
|a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip|
|Report be an honest woman of her word.|
|SALANIO||I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever|
|knapped ginger or made her neighbours believe she||10|
|wept for the death of a third husband. But it is|
|true, without any slips of prolixity or crossing the|
|plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio, the|
|honest Antonio,–O that I had a title good enough|
|to keep his name company!–|
|SALARINO||Come, the full stop.|
|SALANIO||Ha! what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath|
|lost a ship.|
|SALARINO||I would it might prove the end of his losses.||21|
|SALANIO||Let me say ‘amen’ betimes, lest the devil cross my|
|prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.|
|How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants?|
|SHYLOCK||You know, none so well, none so well as you, of my|
|SALARINO||That’s certain: I, for my part, knew the tailor|
|that made the wings she flew withal.||30|
|SALANIO||And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was|
|fledged; and then it is the complexion of them all|
|to leave the dam.|
|SHYLOCK||She is damned for it.|
|SALANIO||That’s certain, if the devil may be her judge.|
|SHYLOCK||My own flesh and blood to rebel!|
|SALANIO||Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these years?|
|SHYLOCK||I say, my daughter is my flesh and blood.|
|SALARINO||There is more difference between thy flesh and hers||41|
|than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods|
|than there is between red wine and rhenish. But|
|tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any|
|loss at sea or no?|
|SHYLOCK||There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a|
|prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the|
|Rialto; a beggar, that was used to come so smug upon|
|the mart; let him look to his bond: he was wont to|
|call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was||50|
|wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him|
|look to his bond.|
|SALARINO||Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take|
|his flesh: what’s that good for?|
|SHYLOCK||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||60|
|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,||70|
|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.|
|[Enter a Servant]|
|Servant||Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house and|
|desires to speak with you both.|
|SALARINO||We have been up and down to seek him.|
|SALANIO||Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot be||80|
|matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.|
|[Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant]|
|SHYLOCK||How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? hast thou|
|found my daughter?|
|TUBAL||I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.|
|SHYLOCK||Why, there, there, there, there! a diamond gone,|
|cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse|
|never fell upon our nation till now; I never felt it|
|till now: two thousand ducats in that; and other||90|
|precious, precious jewels. I would my daughter|
|were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear!|
|would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in|
|her coffin! No news of them? Why, so: and I know|
|not what’s spent in the search: why, thou loss upon|
|loss! the thief gone with so much, and so much to|
|find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge:|
|nor no in luck stirring but what lights on my|
|shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears|
|but of my shedding.||101|
|TUBAL||Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as I|
|heard in Genoa,–|
|SHYLOCK||What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck?|
|TUBAL||Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.|
|SHYLOCK||I thank God, I thank God. Is’t true, is’t true?|
|TUBAL||I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.||110|
|SHYLOCK||I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!|
|ha, ha! where? in Genoa?|
|TUBAL||Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, in one|
|night fourscore ducats.|
|SHYLOCK||Thou stickest a dagger in me: I shall never see my|
|gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting!|
|TUBAL||There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my|
|company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.||120|
|SHYLOCK||I am very glad of it: I’ll plague him; I’ll torture|
|him: I am glad of it.|
|TUBAL||One of them showed me a ring that he had of your|
|daughter for a monkey.|
|SHYLOCK||Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my|
|turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:|
|I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.|
|TUBAL||But Antonio is certainly undone.|
|SHYLOCK||Nay, that’s true, that’s very true. Go, Tubal, fee||130|
|me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I|
|will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for, were|
|he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I|
|will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue;|
|go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.|
Next: The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 2
Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1
From The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co.
The rumors of Antonio’s losses grow more frequent and circumstantial. Shylock is torn apart with rage at Jessica’s reported extravagance with his long-hoarded wealth, and with malignant joy as he hears of Antonio’s misfortunes and impatiently awaits the forfeit of his bond.
2. it lives there unchecked, the rumor is current there uncontradicted.
4. the narrow seas [or sea], a usual term for the English Channel. The Goodwins, I think they call the place. Goodwin Sands, off the coast of Kent. Notice how Salarino’s doubt as to the precise name of the place in which Antonio’s ships have come to grief upholds the illusion that we are in Venice, a place remote from England.
10. knapped, broke into small pieces.
30. the wings she flew withal, the boy’s clothing in which she eloped with Lorenzo.
46. match, bargain.
49. smug, trim, neat.
56. disgraced me, lowered me in public estimation.
57. hindered me [from gaining] half a million [of ducats].
62. affections, emotions caused by external objects, as contrasted with passions, feelings due to emotions within.
63. [Is he not] fed with, etc. Observe how the pathos of the Jew’s despised life strengthens Shylock’s hold on our sympathies at the very moment when the sense of Antonio’s disaster is growing upon us.
72. humility, humanity.
81. cannot be matched, cannot be found to match them.
83. what news from Genoa? This question suggests the lapse of some time since the elopement of Jessica, precisely as the vehemence of Shylock’s words to Salanio and Salarino at the beginning of the scene produces the opposite effect of an apparently brief period since that event.
88. cost, that cost.
89. Frankfort on the Main, famous throughout the Middle Ages for its commercial fairs.
105. from Tripolis. This argosy is mentioned above, i. 3. 18.
112. here? in Genoa? i.e. known here [in Italy]? in Genoa? The emendation where for here seems unnecessary.
126. my turquoise. The turquoise was often given as a pledge of love, because it was supposed to maintain or change its brilliancy of color in accordance with the faithfulness or infidelity of the wearer, besides possessing other miraculous qualities. This touch of human affection in Shylock at the moment when he is raving over the extravagance and ingratitude of Jessica can never be overpraised.
131. fee me an officer, engage an officer for me [to arrest Antonio the moment his bond is forfeited].
135. “Shakespeare,” says one critic, “probably intended to add another shade of darkness to the character of Shylock, by making him still formally devout while meditating his horrible vengeance.” Another remarks on this passage: “The Jew invokes the Ancient of Days, who spoke unto Moses aforetime: ‘If a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.’ In entering his synagogue Shylock intrusts his hatred to the safeguard of his faith. Henceforward his vengeance assumes a consecrated character.” It is one of the marvels of Shakespeare’s power of characterization that we differ about the characters of his personages as we differ about the characters of real people whom we personally know.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co., 1903.