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Merchant of Venice
Transcript of Merchant of Venice
Salerio has heard bad news about one of Antonio’s ships. Shylock threatens Antonio, and when Shylock and Tubal are left on the stage together he gloats over Antonio’s danger. Shylock’s pleasure over this matter is equal to the pain he suffers in the loss of his daughter.
Scene 1- Salerio and Salanio vs. Shylock
In scene 1, Shylock is upset about his daughter, Jessica, eloping with Lorenzo, (mostly because he lost so much money) and Salerio and Salanio make it worse. Salerio admits that he knew about Jessica’s plan, which Shylock does not appreciate. They call Shylock “the devil” (line 31) and speak about how Jessica is better than Shylock. Salerio says “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 Rhenish” (lines 35-37). Salerio asks Shylock what good Antonio’s flesh will be to him, and this kind of angers Shylock and inspires his “I am a Jew” speech. Shylock responds by saying “To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, then it will feed my revenge” (line 47-48).
Scene 1: Venice. A street.
In this scene, the mood is very intense. Salerio and Solanio are fearful of what will happen to Antonio, but Shylock is spiteful towards him.
Scene 2: Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.
The mood in this scene is very romantic. Bassanio and Portia profess their love for each other, and Gratiano and Nerissa announce their own love.
Scene 3: Venice. A street.
This scene is intense, much like the first one. Shylock is very dominant in this scene, and does not even allow Antonio to speak.
Scene 4: Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.
In this scene, Portia and Nerissa are very devious. They plan on tricking their husbands to set things right.
Scene 5: Belmont. Portia’s garden.
This scene is used as a buffer to break the tension and the intensity of the past scene
Tubal, Shylock’s friend, who is also a Jew, reports that one of Antonio’s ships have sank.
“Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa - hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolsis” (III.i.93-94, 96)
Shylock’s spirits rise, having heard this rumour. He know believes that Antonio will go bankrupt and Shylock vows to collect his bond; a pound of Antonio’s flesh. This sets the plot for later on, and that there will be much more to come, and it will not be as simple as Shylock believes to collect his bond. This carries on into the trial in act four, as much drama is added to the plot
Scene 2- Bassanio vs. Himself
In scene 2, Bassanio has a sort of inner conflict. He has a love interest of Portia of Belmont, and he has worked so hard and gone through so much just to travel to pursue Portia and pick from the caskets to win Portia’s hand in marriage. Bassanio must find it within himself to figure out the inscriptions written for each casket, which are only trying to fool him into picking the wrong one and subsequently not being able to marry Portia, or anyone for that matter. He is fighting with himself and his inner thoughts to pick the casket that contains Portia’s picture. Bassanio understands that there will be consequences if he chooses the incorrect casket, but he says that he will be happy with whatever happens. “And here choose I: joy be the consequence” (line 107).
Scene 3- Shylock and Antonio
In scene 3, the ongoing conflict between Antonio and Shylock continues, except this time, it is Shylock who has the advantage. Antonio is pleading with Shylock and pleading him to listen to his reasoning, but Shylock does not want to hear it. Shylock is insistent that he will have his bond of three thousand ducats for three months or a pound of flesh, and he will not forfeit it for Antonio. Shylock brings up things that Antonio has called him, and makes Antonio feel as bad as he always makes Shylock feel. Shylock says “Thou call’dst me a dog before thou hadst a cause,/ But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs” (line 6-7).
Scene 5- Launcelot Gobbo vs. Jessica
In scene 5, Launcelot Gobbo and also Lorenzo, Jessica’s husband, jokingly make fun of Jessica about her being Jewish. This is conflict, but it is light-hearted and all in good fun, nothing serious. Launcelot Gobbo says “Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father are/ to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise/ you, I fear you” (lines 1-3). He is jokingly saying that Shylock’s sins will be revenged upon Jessica, and that he fears for her because of this. He continues to say that she will not be going to heaven because her father is Jewish.
Portia has fallen in love with Bassanio and wants him to wait a few days before making his choice of the caskets, but Bassanio refuses to wait. He meditates aloud on the differences between appearance and reality, and he chooses the leaden casket and wins Portia for his wife. Nerissa and Gratiano congratulate him and Gratiano declares his own marriage plans. Lorenzo and Jessica arrive at Belmont with Salerio, who has brought a letter from Antonio has written to say that he is in Shylock’s power.
Antonio has been arrested and taken to prison. Shylock threatens him, but Antonio is patient
Portia asks Lorenzo to look after house until she and Nerissa return. They are going to Vennice, and plan to dress as men to play a trick on their husbands.
Launcelot Gobbo teases Jessica about her Jewish nationality. Her husband Lorenzo joins in the fun.
Bassanio can be characterized as a loyal person and friend of Antonio. Antonio writes a letter intended for Bassanio that states that his ships have sunk and he cannot repay the bond. The letter states for Bassanio to only come help if Portia tells him to. Portia States; “O love, dispatch all business, and be gone” (III.iii.321). Bassanio goes to Venice with the intentions of saving Antonio.
Shylock’s speech (III.i.49-69), is his view on how Jews are just as equal as Christians. This soliloquy suggests that the rest of this scene will be intense. Following Shylock’s outburst of emotions, the play begins to get very intense, and then even more tense when Shylock’s friend Tubal (also a Jew) come with a rumor that Antonio’s ships have sunk and that he will not be able to repay the bond. This brightens Shylock’s spirits, however, and makes another tense scene that follows.
Act three uses the literary device of irony. After all the years of Antonio making fun of, and taunting Shylock, the tides have turned and now Antonio is the one at risk of dying. When the news comes that Antonio will be on trial, Shylock does not show any sign of remorse, as he has a chance to kill Antonio.
“I’ll plague him; I’ll torture him: I am glad of it” (III.i.110-111).
This quote shows that Shylock is extremely happy that the tables have turned.
Major Character Analysis
Shylock is a Jew and during this Act, Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, leaves him. Shylock is broken, but still out for revenge from Antonio. In the first scene, he hears news that Antonio’s ship has sunk, and he gloats to Tubal, a friend of his. Although nobody should ever want someone else’s ship to sink, Shylock is extremely happy. This characterizes how much he hates Christians, more specifically Antonio. He is also broken because his daughter ran away and stole from him. He is equally as broken up about as he leaving as he is about his jewels and money, which sheds some light on his character. He loves his daughter, but he loves his jewels just as much. He is obsessed with his wealth and material possessions, and just mostly loves money. In Scene 3, Shylock demonstrates dominance against Antonio, hardly letting him speak, and talking down to him. He also demonstrates a strong greed, telling Antonio that nothing will stop him from having his bond (one pound of flesh). Nothing can stop him.
In this act, Antonio does not speak a great amount around Shylock, due to his freight him. He knows that he cannot stop Shylock from taking a pound of flesh from him. But he is also patient with Shylock. He does not plead from him or yell or even motion. He remains still because he knows that nothing will help him. In the back of his mind, he knows he’s doomed and he cannot change that.
Bassanio is the best friend to Antonio, and the reason why Antonio is destined to die. He asked for money from Antonio, who could only get some from Shylock. If Bassanio wasn’t so irresponsible with his money, then maybe Antonio wouldn’t be in this situation. In Scene 2, Bassanio shows impatience due to love. He is told that he will make his decision in a few days, but he refuses to wait because he loves Portia so much. He chooses (thankfully) the right casket and is henceforth married to Portia. He is so in love with her and is so confident in himself that he knows that he will choose the correct one. This also means that he is very arrogant. But later in the scene, we see a caring side of him. He is willing to give Shylock 12000 ducats to set Antonio free when he hears news of Antonio being captured. Although Bassanio is an irresponsible, childish man, he loves and cares for his best friend more than anything in the world. He loves him more than a brother and that is a bond that cannot be broken
In Scene 2, Portia portrays a very loving side for Bassanio. She proclaims that he is the one she wants to marry. She wants him to wait a few days to be sure of his decision so that they will marry each other. She worries that of he rushes his decision, they will not wed. She truly loves him. In Scene 4, she shows a very concerning and a very devious side to her. She is concerned that Antonio will die, which he probably will. She plans to travel to Venice, where she will be the lawyer for Antonio’s case. She plans to do this without her husband knowing, revealing how witty and cunning she is.
Salerio is a friend of Antonio and from what we learn of him he is a gossiper. He learns that a ship sank and he fears that it is Antonio’s. Salerio talks to Shylock about business that s not his. Salerio, although a good friend to Antonio, doesn't know when to shut his mouth.
Solanio too is a friend of Antonio. He is a very gullible. He hears from Salerio who hears from others that Antonio’s ship has sunk. He doesn't remain hopeful. He also doesn't know when to shut up and helps to tell Shylock that Antonio’s ship has sunk
In scene two of act three, the theme of love is very prevalent. This scene depicts Bassanio choosing which casket he thinks has Portia's portrait in it. There is lots of banter about love between the two but one line really sticks out.
"I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile" (l. 1-3)
In normal terms this quote is Portia, pleading Bassanio to wait before making his choice, so that in the case he chooses wrong they would have been able to spend more time together. She is showing her love towards him.
Also in scene two, just after Bassanio chooses the correct casket he receives word of Antonio's fate in Shylock's hands. Portia sees the dismay in him and offers to pay double the amount of Shylock's bond, immediately showing that Bassanio's problems are not also Portia's because they are bound in love.
"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." (l.)
Appearance v. Reality -
There are two big indicators of appearance versus reality in this act. There is a literal and a metaphysical example.
The metaphysical example happens in scene two, it is Bassanio's speech about the caskets. He has a ha long speech about this exact theme. He talks about how appearance isn't everything and how just because something is beautiful or ugly doesn't mean it truly is like that
"The world is still deceiv'd with ornament." (l.74)
The literal example is in scene four, the example is Portia's plan. She plans to take Nerissa and disguise as a lawyer to go be Antonio's attorney. They will be appearing as men, when in reality they are women.
"I have toward heaven breath'd a secret." (l. 27)
What is the purpose of Shylock's monologue?
What are the two major themes of Act Three?
What is one literary device in Act Three?
What happens in Scene Five of Act Three?