Hannah’s Reduced Merchant of Venice Scenes

Act 3, Scene 1:

Enter Solanio and Salarino

Solanio: Hey what’s up?

Salarino: Well, there’s a rumor that Antonio had a ship carrying expensive cargo that shipwrecked in the English Channel on the Goodwin Sands, a very dangerous sandbar.

Solanio: Oh man I hope that’s not true!

Salarino: I hope that’s all he loses

Solanio: Same. Oh crap, here comes Shylock

Enter Shylock

Solanio: Hey man! What’s up?

Shylock: You knew my daughter was going to run away, didn’t you?

Salarino: Yeah… I even knew the guy who made her disguise

Solanio: And even you knew she wanted to leave the nest.

Shylock: She is damned for it.

Salarino: Yep.

Shylock: My own flesh and blood turned against me.

Salarino: But you guys are totally different. You guys couldn’t be more different than oil and water. But did you hear about Antonio’s ship?

Shylock: That’s another bad deal I’ve made! This spendthrift used to be so smug in front of everyone, now he’s gots nothing.

Salarino: But you won’t take his flesh if he can’t pay. What’s that good for?

Shylock: I can’t use it for anything but revenge. He’s laughed at my losses, made fun of my earnings, humiliated my race, thwarted my deals, turned my friends against me, riled up my enemies—and why? Because I’m a Jew. Aren’t we all the same though? If a Jew offends a Christian, what’s the Christian’s reaction? Revenge. If a Christian offends a Jew, what punishment will he come up with if he follows the Christian example? Of course, the same thing—revenge! I’ll treat him as badly as i’ve been treated!

Enter Servant

Servant: Antonio is at his house and would like to speak to you both.

Salarino: Good, we’ve been looking for him everywhere.

Enter Tubal

Solanio: Here comes another Jew. You couldn’t find anyone like these two unless the devil himself turned into a Jew.

Exit Salarino, Solanio and Servant

Shylock: Hey Tubal, did you find my daughter?

Tubal: I couldn’t find her anywhere.

Shylock: Crap! One of the stolen diamonds cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfurt! I wish my daughter were dead at my feet wearing those jewels! I’ve spent more on finding them than how much I lost! Nobody suffers but me. Nobody’s crying except me.

Tubal: Well, other people have bad luck. Antonio’s ship sank coming from Tripolis.

Shylock: Wait, really?

Tubal: Yeah, I spoke with some of the sailors who survived the wreck.

Shylock: OH YEAH BABY!

Tubal: I also heard that your daughter spent eighty ducats in Genoa one night.

Shylock: OH MY GOD THAT MUCH ALL AT ONCE!!! (breathes in and out) But at least I can get Antonio now.

Tubal: she gave away a bunch of other stuff too, like a turquoise ring.

Shylock: THAT’S FROM HER MOTHER OMG!!!!! (breathing again) Ok, it’s ok. Go get some cops to arrest Antonio. Get him ready two weeks ahead of time.—I’ll take Antonio’s heart if he can’t pay. With him out of Venice, I can make whatever bargains I want when I lend money.

 

Act 3, Scene 3:

Enter Shylock, Solanio, Antonio and Jailer

Shylock: Jailer, watch out for this one. This is the fool who lent out money without charging interest. Keep an eye on him.

Antonio: Come on man!

Shylock: Since you treated me so awfully for no reason, I’m returning the favor. I’m getting my money back and the Duke will agree with me.

Antonio: Please listen to me!

Shylock: I won’t listen to you. I want my bond, so stop talking.

Exit Shylock

Solanio: Man, he’s stubborn.

Antonio: He wants me dead. I know the real reason. I’ve often given money to people who were unable to pay back their loans to him. That’s why he hates me.

Solanio: I’m sure the duke will never allow this contract to be enforced.

Antonio: The duke can’t deny the law, because that would threaten the security of all foreign merchants in Venice, and that’s how the city makes its money. I’ve lost so much weight worrying about my losses have that I’ll hardly have a pound of flesh to spare for my bloody creditor tomorrow. I really hope that Bassanio comes to see me pay his debt. After that, I don’t care what happens.

 

Act 2, Scene 1:

Trumpets play

Enter Morocco, Portia, Nerissa, and Attendants

Morocco: Don’t hold my skin color against me. I was born and raised in the sun, which is why I’m dark-skinned. But I’m as red-blooded as any man. I’m telling you, madam, my skin color has made brave men fear me and Moroccan girls love me, but I will give it up for you.

Portia: Being good-looking isn’t the only way to my heart, you know. Not that it matters, because the box test takes away my free choice anyway. But if my father hadn’t restricted me like this, then you’d have had as good a chance to marry me as any of the suitors I’ve met so far.

Morocco: Thank you for saying that. I’ll think I’ll try the cases now. I’ll be braver than I have been in all my battles. But if I lose, I’d die of sadness.

Portia: You have to take your chances. Either don’t choose at all, or swear beforehand that if you choose incorrectly you’ll never talk about marriage to any woman again. Think about it carefully.

Morocco: Fine, I swear I won’t ever get married if I choose incorrectly.

Portia: Let’s go to the temple first. You can take your chances after dinner.

Morocco: I’ll try my luck then. I’ll either be the luckiest or the unluckiest man alive.

Trumpets play again

Exit All

 

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The Merchant of Venice Reduced 1.2, 2.1, 2.7

Act 1 Scene 2:

Portia: I’m tired of this world.

Nerissa: You would be tired if you were poor, but I guess rich people suffer as much as the poor. If you want to be happy you should be in-between.

Portia: True.

Nerissa: So why don’t you?

Portia: It’s not that easy. But thinking this way won’t help me choose a husband… I guess I don’t really get to choose. ““O me, the word “choose!” I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike.” Doesn’t it suck I don’t get to choose?

Nerissa: Your dad was really wise. His idea was to have three boxes: gold, silver, and lead. And your suitor who can figure out the riddle can marry you. Do you like any of the suitors so far?

Portia: Name some, I’ll tell you what they’re like.

Nerissa: What about the one from Naples.

Portia: All he does it talk about his horse.

Nerissa: Count Palatine?

Portia: He doesn’t care if I love him or not.

Nerissa: How about the French one?

Portia: He’s so fake.

Nerissa: What about Faclonbridge?

Portia: Eh… he’s hot, but doesn’t speak English. 

Nerissa: What about the Scottish one?

Portia: He’s kind of a wimp

Nerissa: did you like the German one?

Portia: No way, he’s a drunk.

Nerissa: Don’t worry about these guys, they’re all gonna give up.

Portia: I’ll die alone.

Nerissa: Do you remember that Venetian solider guy?

Portia: Oh yeah, Bassanio?

Nerissa: Yeah him, he should have a beautiful wife, like you.

SERVANT enters

Servant: There are four guys who wanna say goodbye. And the prince of Morocco is here.

Portia: Okay. Let’s go Nerissa.

Both exit.

Act 2 Scene 1:

Morocco: “Mislike me not for my complexion”, just because I have dark skin doesn’t mean I’m any less of a man.

Portia: I don’t just care about looks.

Morocco: Thanks. Show me the caskets and I’ll try my best.

Portia: If you get it wrong you can never get married. Are you sure you want to?

Morocco: Yeah sure.

Portia: Okay you can try after dinner.

Act 2 Scene 7:

Portia: Show the different boxes to the prince.

Morocco: The gold one says “if you choose me you will get what you want”. The Silver one says “if you choose me you’ll get what you deserve”. The lead one says “if you choose me you will risk everything”.

Portia: if you pick the one with my picture you win.

Morocco: I need help! The lead one is too scary. What about the silver one… I do deserve Portia. Let me look at gold again. Portia is what I want; it must be the gold one. Give me the key.

Portia: Okay.

Morocco: Shit! It’s a skull with a letter.

“All that glisters is not gold—

Often have you heard that told.

Many a man his life hath sold

But my outside to behold.

Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

Had you been as wise as bold,

Young in limbs, in judgment old,

Your answer had not been inscrolled.

Fare you well. Your suit is cold—

Cold, indeed, and labor lost.”

Portia: Thank god he didn’t get it.

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.

Merchant of Venice Reduced Scenes

Act 1, Scene 1

Enter Antonio, Salarino, and Solanio

Antonio: I’m sad.

Salarino: It’s because of your ships. But they will be fine. Trust me.

Antonio: No, that’s not why.

Solanio: Then you’re clearly in love!

Antonio: Nope.

Solanio: Then you’re just in a bad mood…

Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano

 Gratiano: You don’t look too great Antonio.

Antonio: I have a sad life.

Gratiano: Let me cheer you up then! Some wise men are so sad and silent. But anyways, I’ll see you at dinner tonight!

Antonio: Thanks! See you later!

Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo

Antonio: Bassanio, who is this girl you’ve been talking about?

Bassanio: I’m in so much debt, especially to you.

Antonio: I will do anything to help you.

Bassanio: Well… there is this beautiful and extremely rich girl in Belmont named Portia. If I had some more money, I could marry her.

Antonio: I’ll help pay for you to go to Belmont. Go find a money lender.

Exeunt

 

Act 2, Scene 6

Enter the masquers Gratiano and Salarino

Gratiano: We’re supposed to meet Lorenzo here.

Salarino: He’s late. Oh. Here he comes.

Lorenzo Enters

 Lorenzo: Sorry I’m late. I’m in love.

Enter Jessica above, disguised as a boy

Jessica: Who are you?

Lorenzo: It’s me.

Jessica: Catch this box, you won’t regret it. I’m glad you can’t see me dressed as a guy.

Lorenzo: You need to be the torchbearer at the masquerade.

Jessica: What?!? I shouldn’t be doing this.

Lorenzo: Let’s go.

Exit Jessica Above

Gratiano: She’s too nice to be a Jew!

Lorenzo: Yeah, she’s smart, pretty and kind! I really love her!

Enter Antonio

Antonio: Gratiano, where have you been? You need to go to Belmont now.

Gratiano: Great. Let’s go!

Exeunt

 

 

Act 3, Scene 1

Enter Solanio and Salarino

 Salarino: Antonio’s ship crashed at sea!

Solanio: Oh no! That’s horrible news!

 Enter Shylock

 Shylock: You knew my daughter would run away!

Salarino: LOL yeah. But it’s alright, kids always run away.

Shylock: She will be damned for this. She’s my flesh and blood.

Salarino: Did you hear about Antonio?

Shylock: Yes, but I’m glad since he has constantly wronged me. We are the same as you Christians, and I will learn from your example by getting revenge.

 Enter Tubal

 Shylock: Did you find Jessica?

Tubal: Nope.

Shylock: Oh no! She stole so much! I’d rather have her dead than lose those jewels. I always have such bad luck.

Tubal: Did you hear about Antonio?

Shylock: Thank God!

Tubal: He will go bankrupt.

Shylock: Great! Go have him arrested. I can get my revenge by taking his heart.

Exeunt severally

Reduced Merchant of Venice Act 1

Act 1 Scene 1

Antonio, Salarino, Solanio enter.

Antonio: I’m really sad and I don’t know why.

Salarino: Well that’s what happens when you invest in boats, if they sink you’re doomed.

Solanio: Yeah, I wouldn’t invest in ships, I’d be sad too.

Antonio: Trust me that’s not it. I’m still rich, relax. I’ll be fine.

Solanio: Are you sad because you’re in love?

Antonio: *rolls eyes* No.

Salarino: I’d stay to cheer you up but your nobler friends are here so we’re gonna peace out.

Salarino and Solanio exit. Bassanio, Lorenzo, Gratiano enter.

Gratiano: You look bad Antonio. Stressed out? You should cheer up a bit, don’t be so glum. I love you man! I just want you to be happy. You shouldn’t be so quiet.

Antonio: Ok, see you later.

Gratiano and Lorenzo exit.

Antonio: Bassanio, who’s this girl I keep hearing about? *wink*

Bassanio: Her name is Portia, she’s beautiful, kind and wealthy. What more could I ask for?  I want to see her but I don’t have money to travel to her. I won’t take your money btw. I’m always in debt to you.

Antonio: You’re my friend, I’d go bankrupt for you.

Bassanio: I think she likes me, lots of guys are going to Belmont to win her over.

Antonio: I don’t have cash until my boats arrive back, just use my credit. Go get her m8.

Bassanio: Ok thanks.

They exit.

Act 1 Scene 2

Portia and Nerissa enter.

Portia: *dramatically puts hand to forehead* Poor me, I’m so tired. It’s not easy being rich… I want a nice boy! I’m tired of waiting around. The brain always tells the heart what to do, but that doesn’t matter anyways. We all think we should be good people but we aren’t. I’m stuck living by the demands of my dead father, and now I’ll be a single pringle forever. I just want to choose my boy.

Nerissa: You’re dad was a good guy, bit weird. Dunno why he’s leaving your fate in a game with boxes, maybe he went delirious on his deathbed. So let me get this straight…  There’s three boxes and the suitor who chooses the right won deserves your love. But you don’t even like the guys that come by so…

Portia: Like who?

Nerissa: The naples guy’s mom had an affair with a blacksmith… Count Palatine is always frowning… Falconbridge doesn’t speak a word of my languages… And the French and Scottish lords… Ugh don’t even get me started.

Portia: They’re all horrible cry babies. I wouldn’t be able to love a single one of them! But blah blah blah, no can do. I’m going to die an old maid. The only thing I like about them is that they’re not here.

Nerissa: Good luck finding a man then. You gotta relax you’re way too picky. But what about that boy Bassanio?

Portia: I remember him, he might be husband material.

Servant enters.

Servant: Oi madame, the prince of Morocco is here tonight.

Portia: Great, the burnt marshmallow comes tonight. He’s nice but has the complexion of the devil, so he’s a lost cause. No can do.

Act 1 Scene 3

They exit. Bassanio and Shylock enter.

Shylock: Three thousand ducats, hmmm. For three months, hmmm. And Antonio will guarantee the loan, hmmm. Even tho his ships are all over the place right now and anything could happen to them… he’s wealthy enough. Alright then, deal done.

Bassanio: Solid, come to dinner with us to seal the deal?

Shylock: And smell pork? No. Jesus sent the devil to your pigs, I won’t eat that.

Antonio enters.

Shylock: I don’t like Antonio, he’s a reckless Christian who loans his money without interest, and he hates Jews. It’d be an insult to all Jews everywhere for me to forgive him… but ok. Let me figure out interest rates…

Antonio: *makes mocking face and hand motions* So, Shylock, is the loan on or off?

Shylock: Relax you rude christian. You called me a dirty dog and spit on my clothes, then ask me for my money. I don’t owe you anything.

Antonio: I’d do it again too. If it helps, lend to me as your enemy so you can take your penalty.

Shylock: I am trying to forgive you here but you won’t even listen. I’ll show you my kindness, let’s make the deal official. But if I don’t get the money, I want a pound of your flesh.

Antonio: Great. It’s a deal. I’ll even pretend I like jews.

Bassanio: WTF? I’d rather not take the money.

Antonio: DW, it’ll never happen.

Shylock: *looks up* Pls don’t hate me, father Abraham.

Shylock exits.

Antonio: Shylock is kind of nice, seems like a Christian to me.

Bassanio: I hate villains that act nice, it’s sus*.

They exit.

* Sus is teenage slang for suspicious

The Merchant of Venice Quick Write 3

3. How does Shylock perceive himself as a master and a father? Give evidence from the text to support your answer.
Shylock perceives himself as both a master and a father, and it is shown quite clearly throughout the text of the scene. We can see that Shylock acts like a father when he calls out to Jessica, his daughter, saying she shouldn’t eat too much or sleep and snore and wear her clothes out, “Thou shalt not gormandize As thou has done with me. -What, Jessica!- And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out- Why, Jessica, I say!”. This interaction is reminiscent of a typical father, daughter conversation since parents are often portrayed to remind their children to do things properly, or scold them when such activities are performed incorrectly. We can also see how Shylock perceives himself to be master when he leaves Jessica with the keys to the house, telling her to watch the house carefully since he feels something bad may happen while he is gone. This is shown when he states, “There are my keys.” and “Jessica, my girl, Look to my house. I am right loath to go. There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, For I did dream of money bags tonight”. This may also show how Shylock perceives himself to be a father since if we look at it from a different perspective, he may not be as worried about the house as he is with his daughter’s safety.
Shylock says, “Hear you me, Jessica. Lock up my doors, and when you hear the drum And the vile squealing of the wry-necked fife, Clamber not you up to the casements then, Nor thrust your head into the public street”. This shows that Shylock had both the intention of protecting his house as well as protecting his daughter. This is an interesting way for Shakespeare to characterise Shylock, since the audience may have simply seen Shylock as being worried about his house, thinking he was ordering Jessica around as a “master” to make sure the house is well guarded. But, by looking at it from an alternative perspective, one can see that Shylock may have been acting as a father, giving a reason for Jessica to lock the house and make sure she is safe while he is away. This was a great way to play on the stereotype of Jewish people mostly taking their possessions into consideration: by blurring the boundaries between the two possible intentions of his words through the use of anti semitism at the time.

The Merchant of Venice Quick Write 1

  1. Examine the Prince of Morocco’s opening lines. What issues does he address? Look at the language he uses in ll.1-12 and 22-38. How does the imagery in his speech reflect the Elizabethan perception of Moors?
        In the Prince of Morocco’s opening lines, he firstly addresses the possible fear or mistrust Portia may feel regarding his appearance, culture and ancestry: being Moors. During the Elizabethan period, the English treated the Moors with an uneasiness stemmed from a lack of knowledge of their culture and type of religion. He starts off with, “Mislike me not for my complexion”, then goes into detail with imagery describing his appearance and saying that he’s more trustworthy than even “the fairest creature northward born, where Phoebus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles”. This most likely means that the Prince of Morocco is saying he’s more trustable than even the most handsome white men. This can be inferred since he described the “fairest creature northward born” as living in a place where Phoebus’ fire is scarce, likely referencing the sun, saying the people there would have a lighter complexion. He then goes on to further prove his worthiness by saying, “And let us make incision for your love To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine”, showing a sense of loyalty towards Portia in that he would draw blood from his own flesh to show that despite his Moors heritage, he is more trustable and worthy of her hand in marriage than others who may be light skinned.
The Prince of Morocco continues by recounting his multiple accomplishments, and boasting his strengths and bravery. He says, “By this scimitar That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince, That won three fields of Sultan Solyman”, which shows how he has had experience in battle, killed the Shah of Persia, a Persian prince and defeated the Sultan Suleiman three times. Additionally, he uses unique imagery to explain how he is the bravest of them all, “Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth, Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear, Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey, to win thee, lady”. The imagery used illustrates how he would be brave enough to take the cubs from a scary mother bear, mock a starving lion, all in an effort to have Portia to himself. Following this, the Prince of Morocco addresses the issue of the nature of the way he is to obtain her hand in marriage, being that of luck and chance. He states, “But, alas the while! If Hercules and Lychas play at dice Which is the better man, the greater throw May turn by fortune from the weaker hand;”, which shows how he compares himself to Hercules, a son of God, and his servant Lychas rolling their hand at dice to see who would be the one to marry Portia. By explaining it in such a way, the Prince of Morocco both further shows his superiority to other competitors as well as makes clear that the way in which the “game is played” has issues in itself as it is all up to chance and “blind Fortune”.