BM1 - Introduction to Literature - Assignment 2: Merchant of Venice

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Assignment 2: Merchant of Venice

Please answer the following questions using complete sentences only! Stick to the rules for assignments concerning layout etc. given on the style sheet!

1) Summarize the excerpt from Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice", ACT I, iii. 2) How does this excerpt relate to the rest of the play? 3) Analyse the communicative situation. Concentrate on form, length of individual speeches, interruptions and the domination of one speaker or idea. 4) Bassanio's line "I like not fair terms and a villain's mind" (I,iii) is an example of a figural-explicit characterisation technique. List other ways of characterising figures and find examples in the play regarding the character of Shylock.

Shakespeare, William: The Merchant of Venice - ACT I, iii


SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum. Three months from twelve; then let me see the rate.

ANTONIO. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?

SHYLOCK. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my moneys and my usances; Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, For suff'rance is the badge of all our tribe; You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine, And all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help; Go to, then; you come to me, and you say 'Shylock, we would have moneys.' You say so: You that did void your rheum upon my beard, And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold; moneys is your suit. What should I say to you? Should I not say 'Hath a dog money? Is it possible A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or Shall I bend low and, in a bondman's key, With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness, Say this:-- 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; You spurn'd me such a day; another time You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys?'

ANTONIO. I am as like to call thee so again, To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends,--for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend?-- But lend it rather to thine enemy; Who if he break thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty.

SHYLOCK. Why, look you, how you storm! I would be friends with you, and have your love, Forget the shames that you have stain'd me with, Supply your present wants, and take no doit Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me: This is kind I offer.

BASSANIO. This were kindness.

SHYLOCK. This kindness will I show. Go with me to a notary, seal me there Your single bond; and, in a merry sport, If you repay me not on such a day, In such a place, such sum or sums as are Express'd in the condition, let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me.

ANTONIO. Content, in faith; I'll seal to such a bond, And say there is much kindness in the Jew.

BASSANIO. You shall not seal to such a bond for me; I'll rather dwell in my necessity.

ANTONIO. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it; Within these two months, that's a month before This bond expires, I do expect return Of thrice three times the value of this bond.

SHYLOCK. O father Abram, what these Christians are, Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect The thoughts of others. Pray you, tell me this; If he should break his day, what should I gain By the exaction of the forfeiture? A pound of man's flesh, taken from a man, Is not so estimable, profitable neither, As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say, To buy his favour, I extend this friendship; If he will take it, so; if not, adieu; And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.

ANTONIO. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.

SHYLOCK. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's; Give him direction for this merry bond, And I will go and purse the ducats straight, See to my house, left in the fearful guard Of an unthrifty knave, and presently I'll be with you.

ANTONIO. Hie thee, gentle Jew.


This Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.

BASSANIO. I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.

ANTONIO. Come on; in this there can be no dismay; My ships come home a month before the day.