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The Merchant of Venice

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Enter LAUNCELOT the clown and JESSICA
LAUNCELOT and JESSICA enter.

LAUNCELOT
Yes, truly, for look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children. Therefore I promise ye I fear you. I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter. Therefore be o' good cheer, for truly I think you are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.
LAUNCELOT
Yes, look, it’s true that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. That’s why I’m worried about you. I’ve always been straightforward with you, so now I’m telling you what I think. Cheer up, because I think you’re going to hell. There’s only one hope for you, and even that’s a kind of illegitimate hope.

JESSICA
And what hope is that, I pray thee?
JESSICA
What hope is that, may I ask?

LAUNCELOT
Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
LAUNCELOT
You can hope your father isn’t your real father. Maybe your mother fooled around, and you aren’t the Jew’s daughter.

JESSICA
That were a kind of bastard hope indeed. So the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
JESSICA
That really is an illegitimate hope. Then I’d be punished for the sins of my mother.

LAUNCELOT
Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and mother. Thus when I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Charybdis your mother. Well, you are gone both ways.
LAUNCELOT
In that case I’m afraid you’re damned by both your father and your mother. When you avoid one trap, you fall into another. You’re in trouble either way.


JESSICA
I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a
Christian.
JESSICA
My husband will save me. He’s made me a Christian.

LAUNCELOT
Truly, the more to blame he. We were Christians eno' before, e'en as many as could well live one by another. This making Christians will raise the price of hogs. If we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
LAUNCELOT
He was wrong to do that. There were enough Christians before—as many of them as could stand to live near each other. All these new Christians will make the price of hogs go up. If we’re all pork-eaters, we won’t be able to get our hands on a slice of bacon, even if we’ve got the money for it.
Enter LORENZO
LORENZO enters.

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