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The Merchant of Venice

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DUKE
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
DUKE
Antonio and Shylock, both of you come forward.

165
PORTIA
Is your name Shylock?
PORTIA
Is your name Shylock?

SHYLOCK
    Shylock is my name.
SHYLOCK
Shylock is my name.




PORTIA
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.—
(to ANTONIO) You stand within his danger, do you not?
PORTIA
Your case is most unusual, though the Venetian law can’t stop you from proceeding.—(to ANTONIO) He has a claim on you, correct?

170
ANTONIO
Ay, so he says.
ANTONIO
Yes, so he says.

PORTIA
   Do you confess the bond?
PORTIA
Do you acknowledge the contract?

ANTONIO
I do.
ANTONIO
Yes, I do.

PORTIA
  Then must the Jew be merciful.
PORTIA
Then the Jew must show you mercy.

SHYLOCK
On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
SHYLOCK
Why do I have to do that? Tell me.



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185
PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
PORTIA
No one shows mercy because he has to. It just happens, the way gentle rain drops on the ground. Mercy is a double blessing. It blesses the one who gives it and the one who receives it. It’s strongest in the strongest people. It looks better in a king than his own crown looks on him. The king’s scepter represents his earthly power, the symbol of majesty, the focus of royal authority. But mercy is higher than the scepter. It’s enthroned in the hearts of kings, a quality of God himself. Kingly power seems most like God’s power when the king mixes mercy with justice. So although justice is your plea, Jew, consider this.

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