The Merchant of Venice

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Bassanio with Shylock the Jew


Three thousand ducats, well.


Ay, sir, for three months.


For three months, well.


For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be



Antonio shall become bound, well.


May you stead me? Will you pleasure me?
stead (v.) help, assist, benefit

Shall I know your answer?


Three thousand ducats for three months, and

Antonio bound.


Your answer to that.


Antonio is a good man.
good (adj.) 10 rich, wealthy, substantial


Have you heard any imputation to the



Ho no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he

is a good man is to have you understand me that he is

sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition. He hath
sufficient (adj.) able, capable, competent
supposition (n.) 2 doubt, uncertainty, question

an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I
argosy (n.) large merchant ship

understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third

at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he
venture (n.) 1 deal, enterprise, business, expedition

hath squandered abroad. But ships are but boards,
squander (v.) scatter, disperse, dissipate

sailors but men; there be land rats and water rats, water

thieves and land thieves, I mean pirates; and then there

is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is,

notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think

I may take his bond.


Be assured you may.
assured (adj.) 1 certain, definite, sure


I will be assured I may; and, that I may be
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
assure (v.) 2 guarantee, make safe against risks


If it please you to dine with us.


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 comes here?

Enter Antonio


This is Signor Antonio.


publican (n.) tax-collector

How like a fawning publican he looks.

I hate him for he is a Christian;

But more, for that in low simplicity
low (adj.) 1 humble, lowly, inferior
simplicity (n.) 3 naivety, foolishness, artlessness

He lends out money gratis and brings down
gratis (adv.) for nothing, without payment

The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
usance (n.) interest on a loan

If I can catch him once upon the hip,
hip, on / upon the [wrestling] at a disadvantage, in an unfavourable position

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.

He hates our sacred nation and he rails
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

Even there where merchants most do congregate,

On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,
thrift (n.) profit, advantage, gain

Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe

If I forgive him.


                         Shylock, do you hear?


I am debating of my present store,

And, by the near guess of my memory

I cannot instantly raise up the gross

Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?

Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,

Will furnish me. But soft, how many months
furnish (v.) 1 provide, supply, possess

Do you desire? (To Antonio) Rest you fair, good signor!

Your worship was the last man in our mouths.


Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow

By taking nor by giving of excess,
excess (n.) usury, interest

Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
ripe (adj.) 1 matured, ready for action

I'll break a custom. (To Bassanio) Is he yet possessed

How much ye would?


                         Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.


And for three months.


I had forgot – three months, you told me so.

Well then, your bond. And let me see; but hear you,
bond (n.) 1 deed, contract, pledge

Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Upon advantage.
advantage (n.) 4 interest, bonus, addition


                         I do never use it.


When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep –

This Jacob from our holy Abram was,

As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,

The third possessor; ay, he was the third –


And what of him? Did he take interest?


No, not take interest, not as you would say

Directly interest. Mark what Jacob did:
directly (adv.) 4 exactly, rightly, entirely
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

When Laban and himself were compromised
compromise (v.) reach agreement, come to terms

That all the eanlings which were streaked and pied
eanling (n.) new-born lamb
pied (adj.) of different colours, multi-coloured

Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes being rank,
rank (adj.) 7 lascivious, lustful, lewd

In the end of autumn turned to the rams;

And when the work of generation was

Between these woolly breeders in the act,
act (n.) 1 activity, action, performance

The skilful shepherd peeled me certain wands,
pill (v.) 2 [of bark] peel, strip
wand (n.) rod, staff

And in the doing of the deed of kind
kind (n.) 6 nature, close natural relationship

He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
fulsome (adj.) 2 randy, lustful, lascivious

Who then conceiving, did in eaning time

Fall parti-coloured lambs, and those were Jacob's.
fall (v.) 1 drop, descend, let fall
parti-coloured (adj.) variegated, diverse, multi-coloured

This was a way to thrive, and he was blest,

And thrift is blessing if men steal it not.


This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for,
serve (v.) 7 be a servant, serve God
venture (n.) 1 deal, enterprise, business, expedition

A thing not in his power to bring to pass,

But swayed and fashioned by the hand of heaven.
fashion (v.) 3 arrange, contrive, manage
sway (v.) 1 control, rule, direct, govern

Was this inserted to make interest good?
make good 1 justify, vindicate, confirm

Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?


I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast.

But note me, signor –
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


                         Mark you this, Bassanio,

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,

A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
goodly (adj.) 2 good-looking, handsome, attractive, comely

O what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
goodly (adj.) 2 good-looking, handsome, attractive, comely


Three thousand ducats, 'tis a good round sum.
round (adj.) 2 heavy, substantial

Three months from twelve, then, let me see, the rate –


Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
beholding (adj.) beholden, obliged, indebted


Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
oft, many a time and very often, with great frequency

In the Rialto you have rated me
rate (v.) 1 berate, reproach, rebuke, scold

About my moneys and my usances.
usance (n.) interest on a loan

Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
sufferance (n.) 2 endurance, forbearance, patience

You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
gaberdine (n.) cloak, cape, loose upper garment See Topics: Clothing

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 moneys,’ you say so,

You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
rheum (n.) 4 spit, spittle, saliva
void (v.) 1 empty, clear out, discharge

And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
cur (n.) dog, mastiff, watch-dog [without a contemptuous sense]
foot (v.) 4 kick, boot
spurn (v.) 2 kick, strike, stamp [on], dash

Over your threshold, moneys is your suit.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

What should I say to you? Should I not say,

‘ Hath a dog money? Is it possible

A cur can lend three thousand ducats?’ Or

Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key,
bondman (n.) bondsman, serf, slave
key (n.) 1 tone, voice, style of expression

With bated breath and whispering humbleness,
bated (adj.) abated, lowered, diminished
breath (n.) 1 utterance, speech, voice

Say this:

‘ Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last,

You spurned me such a day, another time

You called me dog, and for these courtesies

I'll lend you thus much moneys ’?


I am as like to call thee so again,
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
spurn (v.) 2 kick, strike, stamp [on], dash

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not

As to thy friends, for when did friendship take

A breed for barren metal of his friend?
breed (n.) 3 sort, kind, type

But lend it rather to thine enemy,

Who if he break, thou mayst with better face
break (v.) 6 break one's promise, not keep one's word

Exact the penalty.


                         Why look you, how you storm!

I would be friends with you and have your love,

Forget the shames that you have stained me with,

Supply your present wants, and take no doit
doit (n.) [small Dutch coin = half an English farthing] trivial sum, worthless amount, trifle See Topics: Money

Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me.
usance (n.) interest on a loan

This is kind I offer.
kind (adj.) 1 showing natural feeling, acting by nature


This were kindness.


                         This kindness will I show.

Go with me to a notary, seal me there
notary (n.) 2 clerk authorized to draw up contracts

Your single bond, and, in a merry sport,
single (adj.) 1 individual, particular
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

If you repay me not on such a day,

In such a place, such sum or sums as are

Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit
condition (n.) 7 contract, covenant, agreement

Be nominated for an equal pound
equal (adj.) 2 precise, exact, just
nominate (v.) 1 name, specify, designate [as]

Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken

In what part of your body pleaseth me.


Content, in faith. I'll seal to such a bond
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count
seal (v.) 4 mark by seal, put one's name to, agree

And say there is much kindness in the Jew.


You shall not seal to such a bond for me;

I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
dwell (v.) exist, continue, persist


Why fear not, man; I will not forfeit it.

Within these two months – that's a month before

This bond expires – I do expect return

Of thrice three times the value of this bond.


O father Abram, what these Christians are,

Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect

The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this:

If he should break his day, what should I gain
break (v.) 17 fail to keep, default on
day (n.) 2 appointed day, fixed date

By the exaction of the forfeiture?
exaction (n.) 2 exacting, enforcement
forfeiture (n.) forfeit, penalty

A pound of man's flesh taken from a man

Is not so estimable, profitable neither,

As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say
beefs (n.) fat cattle, oxen

To buy his favour I extend this friendship.

If he will take it, so; if not, adieu.

And for my love I pray you wrong me not.


Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
seal (v.) 4 mark by seal, put one's name to, agree


Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;

Give him direction for this merry bond,

And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

See to my house, left in the fearful guard
guard (n.) 1 protection, keeping, custody

Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
knave (n.) 2 servant, menial, lackey
presently (adv.) 2 after a short time, soon, before long
unthrifty (adj.) 1 prodigal, profligate, wasteful

I'll be with you.

gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
hie (v.) hasten, hurry, speed See Topics: Frequency count


                         Hie thee, gentle Jew.

The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.


I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.


Come on. In this there can be no dismay;

My ships come home a month before the day.


  Previous scene     Next scene