Skip over navigation

The Merchant of Venice

Original Text

Modern Text





SHYLOCK
These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter.
Would any of the stock of Barabbas
Had been her husband rather than a Christian!—
We trifle time. I pray thee, pursue sentence.
SHYLOCK
That’s what you get for marrying Christian husbands. I have a daughter. I wish she’d married any one of

Barabbas’s

In the Bible, Barabbas is a thief who is set free at the same time that Jesus is condemned to death.

Barabbas’s
descendants instead of a Christian!—We’re wasting time. Please, deliver the sentence.

290
PORTIA
A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine.
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
PORTIA
A pound of this merchant’s flesh is yours. The court awards it and the law authorizes it.

SHYLOCK
Most rightful judge!
SHYLOCK
What a righteous judge!


PORTIA
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
PORTIA
And you have to cut this flesh from his chest. The law allows it, and the court awards it.

295
SHYLOCK
Most learnèd judge, a sentence! Come, prepare.
SHYLOCK
What a wise judge! Come on, get ready.





300


PORTIA
Tarry a little. There is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood.
The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.”
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But in the cutting it if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are by the laws of Venice confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
PORTIA
But wait a moment. There’s something else. This contract doesn’t give you any blood at all. The words expressly specify “a pound of flesh.” So take your penalty of a pound of flesh, but if you shed one drop of Christian blood when you cut it, the state of Venice will confiscate your land and property under Venetian law.

GRATIANO
O upright judge!—Mark, Jew.—O learnèd judge!
GRATIANO
Oh, what an upright judge!—Pay attention, Jew.—Oh, what a smart judge!

305
SHYLOCK
Is that the law?
SHYLOCK
Is that the law?



PORTIA
Thyself shalt see the act.
For as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest.
PORTIA
You can see for yourself. You asked for justice, so rest assured you’ll get more justice than you bargained for.

More Help

Previous Next
s