Act 3, Scene 1 Notes from Merchant of Venice

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Merchant of Venice Act 3, Scene 1

The scene opens on a Venice street. Salanio and Salarino enter, discussing Antonio's misfortune - Salarino's source says that it was Antonio's ship that sunk in the English Channel. They wish the best of luck to him, knowing that Shylock won't be understanding.

Topic Tracking: Fortune 6

Shylock enters, angry about his daughter's flight, angry with Salanio and Salarino because he correctly suspects that they knew something about it. They argue briefly about Jessica, with Shylock unable to bare the betrayal of his daughter, and Salarino arguing that Shylock shouldn't have been surprised, given how different they are. Avoiding the argument, Salarino changes the subject and asks Shylock if he's heard about Antonio's misfortune. Shylock responds that he has, and he relishes Antonio's reversal of fortune, he crows with delight to have the once-smug Antonio slinking about, avoiding him.

Salarino asks Shylock why he's so excited, what will he have to gain by a pound of Antonio's flesh? Shylock responds:

"To bait fish withal It will feed noth-
ing 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 vil-
lainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard
but I will better the instruction."
Act 3, Scene 1, lines 55-76

Topic Tracking: Persecution 6

A servant enters, and tells Salarino and Salanio that Antonio wishes to speak with them. The three of them exit. Tubal enters, reporting that there is still no sign of Jessica. Shylock exclaims that he would rather have her dead and his money back, then know she was alive somewhere with it. Tubal gives Shylock some good news as well - the rumors are true - Antonio's ship has crashed, he's heard it from one of the sailors who survived the wreck. The sailor also confirmed Jessica's presence in Genoa. Shylock asks Tubal to hire him an officer to arrest Antonio. Finally Shylock reveals his plan - once Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock will demand that the pound of flesh he is entitled to be taken out of Antonio's heart. They agree to meet at Synagogue later, then exit.

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