1 Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Script adapted from Cinna s Easy Plays from Shakespeare 4 Characters ANTONIO, a merchant BASSSANIO, his friend, lover of PORTIA SHYLOCK, a moneylender SERVANT DUKE OF VENICE PORTIA, wife of BASSSANIO NERISSA, her maid LORENZO Jessica s lover (later husband) JESSICA Shylock s daughter SCENE 15 (Enter ANTONIO and SERVANT, separately.) Servant: Signor Antonio. Yes? Servant: The duke wishes to speak with you. (Enter DUKE and BASSANIO') Antonio. Your Grace. Antonio, I am sorry for you. Shylock demands that you fulfill his contract. Shylock is correct but inhuman. I know Your Grace has taken great pains to dissuade Shylock, and I thank you. So far, I have failed. Go and call Shylock into this court. (Exit SERVANT') Bassanio, Antonio is in danger for your sake.
2 I know it well, Your Grace. We must save him. Every lawyer in Venice has been consulted, and today I have received a message from old Dr. Bellario in Mantua. Can he help? Duke : I don't know yet. (Enter SHYLOCK)Shylock, stand before me. The world thinks, and I think so too, that you demand fulfillment of your contract out of malice. It is thought you will press until the last moment, and then show mercy. I hope so. How can the flesh of Antonio help you? Your Grace, Antonio freely entered this bond. Ask him. Give me my due. If you refuse, then the laws of Venice are nothing and the freedom of the city is threatened. This is no answer to the Duke's question. Antonio has insulted me and many Jews of Venice for years. He is now at my mercy. Does that answer your question? I don't like such an answer. I did not try to please you with my choice of answer. Do all men kill the thing they do not love? Does any man hate the thing he does not wish to kill? Every hate does not begin as a hate. Oh? Would you have a snake bite you twice, then? Stop. This is useless. His Grace the Duke must give us his judgement. You gave me three thousand ducats. I did. You did not repay me. Here are six thousand. No. The time is finished. I want my bond. If you show no mercy, how can you expect mercy for yourself? Me? Do I need mercy? No, indeed. I have done no wrong. I fear no judgement. Why do you ask me to change? I bought a piece of Antonio, and now I demand
3 delivery. Every man here has bought slaves, many slaves. You treat them worse than dogs. Shall I say to you, "Free your slaves. Give them soft beds and dainty dishes to eat"? If I say this, you laugh and say " The slaves are mine." Very well, Shylock laughs and says one pound of Antonio is his. You have bought many men. I have bought one small piece of Antonio. This is a court. 'The Duke is our judge. I ask judgement. What is Your Grace's answer? This problem is too' great for me. No lawyer in Venice can find an answer. So, I may cut? Not yet. I have received a message from Mantua. The learned Dr. Bellario is interested in this case. Dr. Bellario? Call Dr. Bellario. Servant: Dr. Bellario! (Enter NERISSA dressed as a man; no one recognises her.) Sir, are you doctor Bellario? No, Your Grace, I am not. But here is a letter from him. (DUKE takes letter and reads.) Bassanio (to ANTONIO) : Courage, Antonio. The Jew must murder me before he has one drop of your blood. Antonio (to BASSANIO) : You may soon write my obituary, Bassanio. (SHYLOCK takes his knife, turns foot to expose sole of shoe, and sharpens knife.) Why do you do that, Shylock? To fulfill our contract. My heart is not so hard. Duke (Finishes reading.) : This letter is from Dr. Bellario, but he cannot come here himself. He recommends a young Dr. Balthasar. He says he has never known such an old head on such young shoulders. Where is the young doctor Balthasar? He is waiting outside, Your Grace. Bring him in.
4 (Exit NERISSA.) Bassanio (to SHYLOCK) : Can I make you an offer? No! Let the Duke give his judgement. (Enter PORTIA dressed as a lawyer : no one recognises her.) Are you the young Dr. Balthasar? I am, Your Grace. Do you know about this case? The learned Dr. Bellario has explained it, to me, and we have sat up many hours discussing it. Then I trust you can find some solution. Who are you? I am Shylock., I am Antonio. Show me your contract. Here it is. (Shows paper to PORTIA.) Portia (reading) : Yes, yes, I see. Do you acknowledge it, Antonio? I do. Then the Jew must be merciful. Does the contract say I must be merciful? "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. It becomes a throned monarch better than his crown. " Therefore, Jew, be merciful. I will not. I appeal to the strictest law. I want my penalty. Can Antonio not pay?
5 He can. It is too late. The time is over. Here is twice the sum he owes. Six thousand ducats. If that is not enough, I will pa ten times more. The law is on my side. "Then change the law a little. To do a great right, do a little wrong." Change the law? Never. Shylock (pleased) : "A Daniel come to judgement.", A wise young man! The contract is clear. The law is clear, too. You may demand your pound of flesh. Shylock (raising knife) : I do. I do. But still I say be merciful. Take twice your money. Take three times your money, and let me tear this paper. No. The tongue of man has no power to change my mind. I want my pound of flesh., Antonio (to DUKE) : Your Grace must give his judgement. Duke (to Portia) : Must I? You must. It is simple. Antonio, prepare yourself. Shylock (pleased) : Oh excellent young man. (ANTONIO takes off his shirt.) The law must be fulfilled. True! Oh wise judge! How much wiser you are than your young face suggests! Shylock : Antonio, take off you shirt. I have. The chest. Near the heart. The bond says near the heart" It does. Proceed. (SHYLOCK raises knife to cut ANTONIO.)
6 Is the balance ready? It is there. (Points to balance.) And the.doctor? Doctor? Does the contract speak of any doctor? No, but it would be a kindness on your part. Shylock (looking at contract) : I see nothing about a doctor. True. You are not bound to bring a doctor. (to ANTONIO) Antonio, do you have anything to say? What can I say but good-bye? 1 (ANTONIO and BASSSANIO shake hands.) Bassanio (very upset) : I have just married, but my wife is less to me than you, Antonio. Your wife would not thank you if she heard that. : You are wrong. She is a Christian and a good woman. Shylock (angry) : A Christian! My daughter was stolen by a Christian. Your Grace, pass the sentence. The contract calls for a pound of flesh. The law allows it, and the court awards it to you. Most rightful judge! Now, take your knife, and cut his flesh. Most learned judge! Give the judgement. This is the judgement. Cut the flesh. Shylock (Raises knife.) : I will. But of course take no blood. No blood? Does the contract speak of blood?
7 No, but.... Cut your flesh, but spill no blood, then. If you take one drop of his blood, the law of Venice will seize your land and goods. You have appealed to the law, and that is the law. Is that the law? Portia (giving books to SHYLOCK) : Read for yourself. Bassanio (pleased): Oh most learned Judge! Shylock (angry) : I accept your offer. (He drops the knife.) What offer? Give me nine thousand ducats. But you have refused. Give me six thousand. Did he not refuse? (All laugh.) Give me my three thousand ducats. Here it is. Here it is. (Offers money.) No. He has refused it. I change my mind. You said the tongue of man could never change your mind. The law allows you a pound of flesh. Pick up your knife and cut. Give me my money. Impossible. The devil! I will go home. Portia : Just a moment, my friend. You appealed to the strictest law of Venice. You refused to show mercy. Unless the Duke now shows mercy to you, the law of Venice can seize your land and goods. You have
8 conspired against the life of Antonio, and the law of Venice punishes such conspiracy. Half your goods go to the victim, Antonio, and the other half to the state of Venice. The Duke must decide. Beg his mercy. (SHYLOCK kneels to DUKE') Duke : I show you mercy before you ask. However, Antonio is entitled to half your money. Then take my life too! Antonio, will you show mercy? No, no mercy. He tried to kill Antonio. Yes, let us be merciful. I ask the court to award me half the Jew's money, according to the law. I will keep it until his death, and then give it to his daughter Jessica and her husband Lorenzo. : It shall be done. Shylock, are you content? I am content. But this Jew should also become a Christian like his daughter. Yes, he should. I am not well. Let me go home. Go home then, but do as I say. (Exit SHYLOCK') The court will rise. Duke (Stands and prepares to leave.) : Sir, stay in Venice for a while. Come to my house with me now. (Exit DUKE.) Pardon me, Your Grace, I must return to Mantua at once. Dr. Bellario awaits me. I am sorry. Antonio, you are deep in this young man's debt. It is true. Good doctor, take this three thousand ducats.
9 Yes, take it. No, indeed. I work for Dr. Bellario, and that is reward enough. But you must accept something. I insist. Very well, to please you, then. Give me your gloves. Bassanio (surprised) : My gloves! (He removes gloves.) A ring! Let me take that, too. Sir, I cannot. My wife gave it to me, and I promised... Portia (angry) : Yes! People always make these excuses when they wish to refuse a request. All: No! It is true! Have your own way. Good-bye. Good-bye. (Exit PORTIA and NERISSA) You were wrong, Bassanio. Give him this ring. Yes, I was wrong. Here, take the ring. Hurry after him and give it to him. I will. (Exit separately.) SCENE 16 (Enter PORTIA and NERISSA) Off with these clothes, quick. (Starts to remove lawyer's clothing.) No, no, madam, not yet. Why? Look. The young Lord Antonio is coming. Good Heavens, so he is. I wonder why. (Enter ANTONIO) Sir.
10 Yes? Here is Bassanio's ring. Take it. But he refused. It was a mistake. Please accept it. Portia (accepting it) : I do. How can I thank you? You have saved my life. Stay to dinner and tell us about yourself. No, I must hurry. Bassanio has just married Portia. Come with us to Portia's house and let us thank you for your skill. I think Portia would be surprised to see me. No, no, we can explain. I doubt it. Good-bye, sir, and don't make any more foolish contracts. (Exit ANTONIO. PORTIA and NERISSA remove lawyer's clothing and exit.) SCENE 17 Shh! Everybody is sleeping. Oh, I am so glad to be home. Jessica (to LORENZO) : Listen. What's that? Thieves? Portia (to NERISSA) : I wonder if Bassanio is here. I do hope we have arrived before him. Lorenzo: Jessica: We came as fast as we could. I intend to give him a big surprise. That's the voice of Portia. Oh.
11 Lorenzo: Dear lady, welcome home. Hiding in the garden? Jessica: We were just... what were we doing? Young love! Has Bassanio arrived yet? Lorenzo: No, madam, not yet. You are first. Good. Nerissa, hide those men's clothes, quick. I will. And this is a secret, please remember. Do not tell Bassanio we have been away. Do you understand? Lorenzo and Jessica: Yes. Now, let all of us go to bed. It would be better if they found us sleeping. (Enter BASSSANIO.) Jessica: Too late. Here is Lord Bassanio. Here I am. Welcome home, dear husband. (Enter ANTONIO.) And welcome Antonio. The trial is over. And? We won. The debt has been settled. Well, well, you are clever men. It was not us, it was a stranger. Young Dr. Balthasar from Mantua. Ah, he is famous. He is a very clever fellow. You must tell us all about it.
12 I will. But later. Good night, Antonio. Let's go to bed. (She takes BASSSANIO's hand, pretending surprise.) What's this! What do you mean? No ring? Where is the ring I gave you? The young Dr. Balthasar insisted I should give it to him. Portia (angry) : Dr. Balthasar! He saved my life and would take no money. He wanted the ring. It was not much to give. Not much! My ring not much! Nerissa, look at them! Bassanio marries me, takes my ring, and ten minutes later he makes a new friend and gives the ring away. Bassanio (anxious) : No, no, no, you don't understand at all. I certainly do not. Where is my ring? It's not easy to explain. I suppose you have been in Venice meeting some charming young ladies! No! Never! What do you think, Nerissa? Men are weak. Yes. Forgive him, madam. Yes, forgive me, dear Portia. Very well, I forgive you. (BASSANIO kneels and kisses her hand.) Portia (giving ring) : But only this time! Here is another ring. If you give this away to any other lovely lady in Venice, then we are finished for ever!
13 Thank you, dear Portia, I shall keep this ring for ever. Bassanio (Examines ring.) : What! This is the same ring. How did you get it? (BASSSANIO stands.) How? Well, you gave it to Dr. Balthasar, and he gave it to me. Dr. Balthasar gave you this ring? Impossible. On the contrary, Dr. Balthasar and I are old friends. Bassanio (angry) : Old friends! Nerissa, how long have I known Dr. Balthasar? Well, now, that's hard to say. Forgive me, dear Bassanio. We women are weak. Never! Portia (kneeling) : I will be a good wife. Bassanio (doubtful) : Can I trust you? Nerissa, tell Dr. Balthasar to go home. What! Is he in the house now? Don't worry. He will go at once. Tell him, Nerissa. No, bring him here. I will kill him! (PORTIA and NERISSA scream.) Nerissa (exits) : Dr. Balthasar! Dr. Balthasar! Bassanio (to ANTONIO) : This is outrageous! Forgive a weak woman. Dr. Balthasar helps us and then refuses :payment. I begin to understand why. Nerissa (Enter carrying men's clothing.): Dr. Balthasar, may I introduce you to Lord Bassanio? Or have you already met him? Balthasar? I see only his clothes.
14 Where is he? You want to see the body also? Of course. Very well, then. Turn round. (BASSANIO and ANTONIO turn their backs to PORTIA. She dresses in man's clothes. She then turns her back to BASSSANIO and ANTONIO.) Now you may look. (BASSSANIO and ANTONIO turn and see PORTIA's back.) Bassanio (very angry) : Dr. Balthasar! What are you doing in this house? Portia ( Turns to him.) : But, I live here. Bassanio and Antonio (amazed) : Portia! Portia : Portia. Bassanio (kneels) : Forgive me. What do you think, Nerissa? Shall I? Yes, madam, do. I forgive you. Bassanio (stands, laughing) : Of course, we knew all the time. Portia (surprised) : You knew! Antonio (laughing) : Certainly, but we thought it best to say nothing. : Nonsense. Don't you believe us? I don't know what to believe. (Bassanio holds Portia s hands) Happiness to you both. l And how about some happiness for me, Nerissa? For you?
15 Lorenzo and Jessica are happy. Portia and Bassanio are happy. Only you and I are unhappy. (Antonio holds Nerissa s hands) Oh! Lorenzo: All: Lorenzo: Jessica: Happiness to all of us. Yes. And there is good news for Antonio. Look from this window and you can see the port. Yes, there are four or five big ships there. Lorenzo: Can you read the names? Why, they are my ships! Lorenzo: They arrived while you were in court. But the storm? Lorenzo: They escaped. So Antonio is a rich man again. I hope so. Then I will buy a ring for Nerissa. Thank you. Don't borrow any more money. No! All: Good night, everybody. Good night. Portia (to clothes) : And good night, Dr. Balthasar. THE END