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The Merchant of Venice

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35
SHYLOCK
There I have another bad match!—a bankrupt, a prodigal who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto, a beggar that was used to come so smug upon the mart. 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
That’s another bad deal I’ve made!—a bankrupt, a spendthrift, who now has to hide his head on the Rialto, a beggar who used to look so smug in front of the other merchants. Let him think about his own debt. He liked to call me a loan shark; let him think about his debt to me. He used to lend money as a favor between Christians; but now, let him think about his own debt.


SALARINO
Why, I am sure, if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh.
What’s that good for?
SALARINO
But you won’t take his flesh if he can’t pay. What’s that good for?

SHYLOCK
To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? 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? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. 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.
SHYLOCK
I’ll use it for fish bait. You can’t eat human flesh, but if it feeds nothing else, it’ll feed my revenge. He’s insulted me and cost me half a million ducats. 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. Doesn’t a Jew have eyes? Doesn’t a Jew have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings, and passions? Doesn’t a Jew eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed by the same medicine, and warm up in summer and cool off in winter just like a Christian? If you prick us with a pin, don’t we bleed? If you tickle us, don’t we laugh? If you poison us, don’t we die? And if you treat us badly, won’t we try to get revenge? If we’re like you in everything else, we’ll resemble you in that respect. If a Jew offends a Christian, what’s the Christian’s kind and gentle 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 you as badly as you Christians taught me to—and you’ll be lucky if I don’t outdo my teachers.

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