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Scene 1. Venice. A court of justice There enter the Duke (attended]," Antonio, Bassanio, Gratiano, Salerio, and others.2 Duke. Is Antonio here? Antonio. Ready, so please your Grace. Duke. I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer

A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch

Void and empty from any dram of mercy. Antonio. Since he stands obdurate, I do oppose

My patience to his fury and am armed

To suffer with quietness of spirit.
Duke. Go one,

And call the Jew into the court.
Salerio. He is ready at the door. He comes, my lord.

[Enter Shylock R.)
Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face.

Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour; and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorseò more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty.

We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
Shylock. I have told you what my purpose is;

And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond.

1 [attended.) The number of attendants will be governed by the number of extra actors and costumes available.

2 others: Salanio, Salarino, and Balthasar. To increase the splendor of the impression, a number of the attendants, or even these three (disguised) might be dressed in long red gowns, as senators or advisors of the court.

3 remorse: pity.

If you deny it, let the danger light

Upon your charter and your city's freedom. Bassanio. For thy three thousand ducats here is six. Shylock. If every ducat in six thousand ducats

Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,

I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
Shylock. The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,

Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.

I stand for judgment! Answer: shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,

Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,

Come here today.

My lord, here stays without A messenger with letters from the doctor,

New come from Padua. Duke. Bring us the letters.

Salerio brings (L.) a letter, which the Duke reads at length [until his next speech). Bassanio. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shylock. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there. Gratiano. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou mak'st thy knife keen. Can no prayers pierce

thee? Shylock. No, none that thou hast wit' enough to make. Gratiano. O, thou dog!

1 charter. Shakespeare was thinking of Venice as a city which held a charter, as was the common case in England then. Such a charter could be revoked by the national government in case the city abused the rights granted it to administer laws.

2 whet thy knife so earnestly. Shylock sharpens his knife on his shoe. 3 wit: intellect, sense.

Shylock. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,

Thou but offend'st 1 thy lungs to speak so loud.
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend

and learnéd doctor to our court. Where is he?

And Portia enters (L.), disguised as a doctor of laws.?
Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
Portia. I did, my lord.

You are welcome; take your place.

(Portia assumes a place near the Duke.] Portia. Is your name Shylock? Shylock.

Shylock is my name. Portia. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow.

[To Antonio.] Do you confess the bond? Antonio. I do. Portia.

Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shylock. On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
Portia. The quality of mercy is not strained.3

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.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The thronéd 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;

1 offend'st: injurest.
2 disguised as doctor of laws: in a black cap and gown.

3 strained: forced. Portia means that the nature of mercy comprehends acting freely, not under compulsion.

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. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law.
Portia. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bassanio. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;

Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart.
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. 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.
Portia. It must not be; there is no power in Venice

Can alter a decree established.

'Twill be recorded for a precedent.
Shylock. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!

O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
Portia. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shylock. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
Portia. (After reading it.] The bond is forfeited.
Antonio. Most heartily I do beseech the court

To give the judgment.
Portia. Antonio, lay bare your bosom.


seasons: tempers, softens, makes a little easier. 2 truth: honesty of purpose; that is, offering to pay the money. There is in this thought of Bassanio's (that “malice bears down truth”') the idea of the balances, or scales, of justice, in which malice seems to be outweighing honest intention.


Ay, his breast; So says the bond; doth it not, noble judge?

“Nearest his heart”; those are the very words. Portia. Come, merchant, have you anything to say? Antonio. But little; I am armed and well prepared.

Give me your hand, Bassanio; fare you well! Shylock. We trifle time. I pray thee, pursue sentence. Portia. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine. Shylock. Most learnéd judge! A sentence! — Come, pre

Portia. Tarry a little;

This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.”
Take then thy bond;
If thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods

Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate.
Shylock. Is that the law?
Gratiano. O learnéd judge! Mark, Jew: a learnéd judge!
Shylock. I take this offer, then; pay the bond thrice

And let the Christian go. Portia. Soft!

The Jew shall have all justice.

He shall have nothing but the penalty.
Gratiano. O Jew! an upright judge, a learnéd judge!

A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
Portia. Why doth the Jew pause? — Take thy forfeiture.
Shylock. Give me my principal, and let me go.
Bassanio. Here it is.
Portia. Thou hast refused it in the open court.

Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture;

Take it at thy peril, Jew.
Shylock. Why, then the devil give him good of it!

I'll stay no longer question.

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