English Quotes – The Merchant of Venice

‘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 for you’ Perhaps in an aside where he is thinking to himself, Shylock, a Jew, points out his dislike of the Christians, Bassanio and Antonio. He will do business with them but will not socialise with them
‘How like a fawning publican he looks!I hate him for he is a Christian.But more for than in low simplicityHe lends out money gratis and brings downThe rate of usance here with us in VeniceIf I catch him once upon the hip,I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.’ Shylock, in an aside, reveals his own intolerance of Christians when he calls Antonio a ‘publican’ (tax collector) who is being friendly (‘fawning’) strictly to borrow money. The second thing he has against Antonio is that he loans money at no charge which brings down the rate of interest (‘usance’). Shylock and other Venetian money lenders can charge. Shylock promises himself that he will take revenge if he sees a weakness that could work to his advantage.
‘Mark you this, Bassanio,The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.’ Antonio reveals his own prejudices when he tells Bassanio to take note: ‘the devil’ (Shylock) knows how to quote biblical passages which justify his wrongdoing.
‘You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dogAnd spit upon my Jewish gaberdine.’ Shylock reminds Antonio that he has insulted him in the Rialto marketplace, yet he has taken the abuse with a patient shrug of his shoulders.
‘I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.’ Bassanio is telling Antonio that generous lending terms from the wicked-minded should be suspect: Bassanio does not approve of the deal Antonio just made with Shylock.
‘My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian!’ Solanio tells Salerio that Shylock was so upset when he discovered that his daughter had run away with a Christian and had stolen his money and jewels to finance the trip that he was crying out in the street; people could not tell what he missed more – his money or his daughter.
‘…let him look to his bond, he was wont to call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him look to his bond.’ Shylock lists Antonio’s offences for Salerio, demanding Antonio ‘look to his bond’ (the contract he signed which included a pound of Antonio’s flesh as forfeiture) in between listing Antonio’s next fault; Shylock repeats the same words over and over
‘I am a Jew. Hath 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?’ Shylock seems to be justifying the revenge he has planned for Antonio in advance, as he is asking if Jews are any different from Christians in a series of rhetorical questions.
‘If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’ Again, Shylock seems to be justifying his future actions in advance, saying that any revenge carried out by a Jew (such as himself) would have been learned at the hands of Christians (such as his listeners, Salerio and Solanio). Although Shylock plans to improve (‘better’) upon what the Christians have taught him – another statement which sounds like a threat.
Bassanio: ‘Every offence is not a hate at first.’ Shylock: ‘What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice.’ The content of wills continues as Bassanio and Shylock when Bassanio declares that it takes more than one offence to build up to hate and Shylock asks Bassanio if a serpent has to sting him twice before he gets the message.
‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath’ Portia (dressed as Balthasar, the legal consultant) has just stated that the Jew must be merciful and Shylock has asked ‘why should I?’; this famous speech about mercy is Shylock’s answer. Portia tells Shylock that though he sees justice, he should instead pray for mercy which should teach us all the importance of extending mercy of others.
‘O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!’ Shylock exclaims in delight when Portia (as Balthasar) declares that no power in Venice can alter a written agreement.’
‘O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge!’ Gratiano is mocking Shylock’s previous words of praise for Balthasar, much like an audience boos the opposing team.
Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that: You take my house when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house; you take my life When you do take the means whereby I live. Portia (as Balthasar) has given half of Shylock’s wealth to Antonio and the other half to the state; Portia has also ordered Shylock to beg mercy from the Duke to spare his life. The Duke pardons the Jew’s life ‘before thou ask it,’ but Shylock declares that he should go ahead and take his life, as taking all his wealth robs him of the ability to make a living, which puts both his house and his life in danger.