Merchant of Venice Reduced Scenes

Act 1 Scene 3 – Borrowing money

Shylock: So you want me to lend you 3,000 ducats? 🤔  

Bassanio: Yeah. I can flip it around in 3 months.

Shylock: For 3 months? 🤔

Bassanio: I told you; my guy Antonio has got my back – If I can’t pay it, he will.

Shylock: Antonio’s got it? 🤔

Bassanio: Can you spot me or nah?

Shylock: So 3,000 ducats for 3 months, and Antonio’s got it for sure? Hmm…..

Bassanio: So? What’s your answer?

Shylock: Antonio’s a dece guy.

Bassanio: Have you heard otherwise?

Shylock: What? Nah, nah, nah. I’m sweatin it because I know his investments are shaky right now. He’s got yachts all over the place. I know that he normally would have the cash to spot me back. But there’s no way to guarantee all his ships come back; anything could happen. But I think I can lend it to him.

Bassanio: I promise he’s got it.

Shylock: Oh I’ll make sure he’s got it. I’ll come up with a way to be sure. Where’s Antonio? I want to talk.

Bassanio: Come eat with us.

Shylock: No way – I don’t wanna smell no pork. I’ll do anything but eat, drink, or pray with you.


*Antonio enters*


Bassanio: This is my boy, Antonio.


Shylock (to himself): That guy Antonio. I hate him. He takes my money yet he’s out here tryna ask me favors?? He’s Christian, which is bad enough, but even worse, he lends money carelessly and lowers interest rates all around! It’s time for me to get even with this scumbag. It would insult all Jews if I let him go.


Bassanio: Shylock are you listening? You seem like you’ve zoned out.

Shylock: Yeah of course… I’m just thinking about how much money I have on me. I can get it from Tubal until I gather it myself. How many months do you need? (to Antonio) Oh hey, how you doing bro? Bassanio and I were just talking about you.

Antonio: Look Shylock, let me be str8 up. I never give or take money with interest, but I will pay you with interest if you lend Bassanio the money. (to Bassanio)  Did you tell him how much you need?

Shylock: Oh, he told me. 3,000 ducats. Awful lot to lend your friend. 🤔  

Antonio: For 3 months.

Shylock: Yeah 3 months, But Antonio, I thought you never lend of borrow with interest..?

Antonio: Yeah, I usually don’t do business like that.

Shylock: Remember Jacob? Abraham’s heir? Who raised his uncle’s sheep-

Antonio: Make your point guy. Did he charge interest?

Shylock: No, but he made profit in a shady way. His uncle and him agreed that Jacob would get to keep the spotted sheep. But baby sheep look like what their mother sees during mating, so he stuck spotted branches in front of spotted sheep. All the spotted lambs that were then born went to Jacob. He made a profit, but he was essentially stealing.

Antonio: So what? God made it like that. Are you trying to say something about the interest payments you provide?

Shylock: You can’t compare them. I make way more money than Jacob had sheep.

Antonio: Look Bassanio! The devil using scripture stories against me. Oh he would think he’s so holy quoting the Holy Book but he’s rotten on the inside.

Shylock: 3,000 ducats. Nice and even. For 3 months. Let me work out this interest rate for you then –

Antonio: Well?? Are you giving us the loan or what? Spit it out.

Shylock: Look Antonio. You’ve insulted me, my livelihood, and the way I do business. I dealt with it because I’m a Jew and we have always received the blunt end of the stick. You speak rudely to me and call me names and harass me because of my religion because I try to make a living and profit. And now you need my help. How interesting. After all of this i’m expected to say that i’ll be happy to lend you the money?

Antonio: I’ll probably do all those things again. Don’t lend us money as if we were your friends, lend it to us as if we were your enemies. That way, if I go bankrupt, it’ll be easier to for you to take a penalty from me.

Shylock: Look at you getting all riled up! I want to be friends with you, and forget all those humiliating times. I want to give you what you need, no interest!

Bassanio: That’d be dope.

Shylock: Oh i’ll show you dope! Come with me to get this deal on paper. Let’s add a lil’ joke for a clause. If you don’t repay me on the day we agree on, in the place we name, and for the sum of money fixed in the contract, your penalty will be a pound of flesh. That’s right, I’ll get to cut off some of your pretty flesh from anywhere I like.

Antonio: Deal! I’ll agree to that and even call Jews nice!

Bassanio: No way Antonio! I’d rather go without money.

Antonio: No worries man, I won’t have to pay any penalty. I’m expected to earn three times this amount in the next month.

Shylock: Oh God don’t suspect me! A pound of your flesh is even less valuable than a pound of beef! This is just me offering a favor to a friend. If you agree, great. If not, see ya!

Antonio: I’ll do it.

Shylock: Great. Go file the paperwork for our contract while I go get the money. I’ll see you soon.

Antonio: Hurry up my Jewish pal.

**Shylock exits.


Antonio: He’s so kind you’d think the Jew’s turning Christian!

Bassanio: I hate when a villains acts nice.

Antonio: Come on, don’t worry! My ships will be back long before the money is due.


Act 2 Scene 7 – Caskets

**Trumpets play. Portia enters with the prince of Morocco and both their entourages.


Portia: (to maid) Open the curtains and show the boxes to the prince!


**A curtain is drawn revealing 3 caskets: one gold, one silver, and one lead.

(to Morocco) Now, choose.


Morocco: The gold one says, “Choose me and get what many men want.” The silver one, says “Choose me and get what you deserve.” The dull lead one says, “Choose me and give and risk all you have.” How will I know which one’s right?

Portia: One of them contains my selfie. Choose that one, and i’m yours.

Morocco: God help me! Hmm.. let me see. What’s the lead box say again? “Choose me and give and risk all you have?” Give everything? For what? For lead? Risk everything for lead? Hell no. What’s the silver one say? “Choose me and get what you deserve?” Do I deserve Portia? I shouldn’t underestimate myself. As much as I deserve — I deserve Portia! Between my wealth, talents, and upbringing, oh and by love, I deserve her. But….let’s double check the gold one. “Choose me and get what many men want.” Well, that’s Portia! The whole world digs Portia! They’d cross oceans for her! It can’t be the lead one, it’s too tacky for her. Is she in the silver one? No way, gold is ten times for valuable. Give me the key, i’m ready to pick.

Portia: (Hands him a key) There you go, if my selfie is in there i’m yours.


**Morocco opens the gold casket.


Morocco:  Dammit! A skull and a scroll? Let’s read it.

“All that glitters is not gold—

If you’d been as wise as you were bold,

With an old man’s mature judgment,

You wouldn’t be reading this scroll.

So see ya! – you lost your chance.”

Boy did I lose my chance! Good bye hope, and hello despair. Peace out Portia. I’m too sad for a long goodbye, I gtg.


**Morocco exits with entourage


Portia: Jeez! Close the curtains and let’s bail. I hope everyone that looks like him makes the same mistake.


Act 3 Scene 5 – Jessica vs Lancelot – Can Jessica be saved?

Launcelot: Kids pay for their mother and father’s mistakes. Jessica that’s got me worried about you. You know I’d never lie to you, which is why I’m giving it to you straight. Don’t worry, you’re definitely going to hell! You have only one hope, but even that may not be a sure-thing.

Jessica: What hope?

Launcelot: Maybe Shylock isn’t your true father. Your mother may have tricked you.

Jessica: That’s no hope! If that were true, I’d pay for my mom’s choices. 😱

Launcelot: Sounds like you’re screwed.

Jessica: Lorenzo will save me! He’s converted me!

Launcelot: He should NOT have done that. That was a mistake on his part. These “new” Christians decrease the sacred nature of true Christians. We can’t all be saved.


**Lorenzo enters**


Jessica: I’m tattling on you to Lorenzo, Launcelot. Here he comes. You’re really in trouble now.

Lorenzo: You’re so sus Launcelot… Always taking my wife into dark corners.

Jessica: Please! He should be the last person you’d ever worry about. He insults me and says I won’t get into heaven because my father is a Jew, and that that by marrying me and converting me you’re lowering the status of Christians!

Lorenzo: I bet, Launcelot. My actions are far more justifiable than yours. You got Portia’s Moor servant pregnant.

Launcelot: Ah *$@!. We don’t need more of that race. Whatever. Even if she’s not an “honest woman”, she’s MOOR respectable than I originally realized.

Lorenzo: Ugh. What a horrible pun. You need to talk less. Go tell the servants to prepare for dinner.

Launcelot: It’s already been done. They’re ready to eat!

Lorenzo: You idiot! Tell them to prepare for dinner FOR US.

Launcelot: That’s been done as well. What you’re asking is for “cover”

Lorenzo: Can you cover then?

Launcelot: I will not. That would be inappropriate.

Lorenzo: Don’t mock me! Just get the servants to set the damn table and bring the food, and we’ll come in.

Launcelot: Fine. The table will be there, and have dinner on it. The food will come, and it will be on plates. And for coming in, do what you feel is right. 🙂 🙃 🙂 🙃


** Launcelot exits.


Lorenzo: He’s so annoying. His fancy words. He bends them around and digresses from the topic. Anyways, how are you my wifey? How do you like Portia?

Jessica: I’m OBSESSED. Bassanio will have a blessed life because he has an amazing wife like Portia. He’ll have heaven on Earth. He doesn’t deserve it in this life, or the next. It would be hard for a god to create a woman equally as wonderful as Portia. The world doesn’t have another like her.

Lorenzo: Oh you think she’s great? I’ll be just as good of a husband as she is a wife.

Jessica: Lol we’ll see about that.

Lorenzo: I’ll let you tell me what you think later. For now, let’s go to dinner.

Jessica: Wait, first let me flatter you a bit.

Lorenzo: No, no. We can talk at dinner. That way, even if you roast me, I’ll be able to take it down with the rest of the food.

Jessica: Okay, looks like I’ll be serving you up on a fresh platter.


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