List iconThe Merchant of Venice:
Act 1, scene 3
List icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 1, scene 3



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court…

Act 1, scene 1

Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has invested all his wealth in trading expeditions. Bassanio, his friend and kinsman, asks him for…

Act 1, scene 2

At Portia’s estate of Belmont, Portia and Nerissa talk over Portia’s frustration at being unable to choose her own husband….

Act 1, scene 3

In Venice Bassanio goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow, in Antonio’s name, 3,000 ducats. Shylock hates Antonio but…

Act 2, scene 1

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco greets Portia, who tells him the terms of the contest: if he chooses the…

Act 2, scene 2

In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of…

Act 2, scene 3

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, says good-bye to Lancelet and gives him a letter for Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio. In a…

Act 2, scene 4

Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solanio, and Salarino try to arrange a masque for Bassanio’s dinner that night. Lancelet brings Lorenzo Jessica’s letter…

Act 2, scene 5

Lancelet brings Shylock an invitation to dinner at Bassanio’s. Shylock grudgingly accepts and commands Jessica to guard their house carefully….

Act 2, scene 6

Gratiano and Salarino wait for Lorenzo near Shylock’s house. As soon as Lorenzo arrives, he calls Jessica, who throws him…

Act 2, scene 7

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one…

Act 2, scene 8

In Venice Solanio and Salarino discuss the latest news: Shylock’s torment over the loss of his daughter and the treasures…

Act 2, scene 9

At Belmont the Prince of Arragon attempts to win Portia by choosing the silver chest, but finds in it the…

Act 3, scene 1

In Venice Solanio and Salarino have learned that the Italian ship wrecked in the English Channel was Antonio’s. Shylock enters…

Act 3, scene 2

Portia advises Bassanio to postpone choosing for fear he should make the wrong choice. Bassanio declares himself unable to live…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio seeks out Shylock in an effort to get the moneylender to listen to him. But Shylock insists that the…

Act 3, scene 4

Portia entrusts the management of her household to Lorenzo and pretends to leave with Nerissa for a house of an…

Act 3, scene 5

Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.

Act 4, scene 1

In court at Venice, Shylock demands that the terms of his bond be fulfilled. Portia enters as a doctor of…

Act 4, scene 2

Gratiano gives the disguised Portia Bassanio’s ring. Nerissa decides to try to obtain from Gratiano the ring that she had…

Act 5, scene 1

Portia and Nerissa return to Belmont. When Bassanio and Gratiano also return, bringing Antonio with them, Portia and Nerissa “discover”…

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Scene 3
Enter Bassanio with Shylock the Jew.

SHYLOCK Three thousand ducats, well.
BASSANIO Ay, sir, for three months.
SHYLOCK For three months, well.
BASSANIO For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall
5 be bound.
SHYLOCK Antonio shall become bound, well.
BASSANIO May you stead me? Will you pleasure me?
 Shall I know your answer?
SHYLOCK Three thousand ducats for three months,
10 and Antonio bound.
BASSANIO Your answer to that?
SHYLOCK Antonio is a good man.
BASSANIO Have you heard any imputation to the

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

SHYLOCK 15Ho, no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he
 is a good man is to have you understand me that he
 is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he
 hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the
 Indies. I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto,
20 he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and
 other ventures he hath squandered abroad. But
 ships are but boards, sailors but men; there be land
 rats and water rats, water thieves and land
 thieves—I mean pirates—and then there is the
25 peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is,
 notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats.
 I think I may take his bond.
BASSANIO Be assured you may.
SHYLOCK I will be assured I may. And that I may be
30 assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with
BASSANIO If it please you to dine with us.
SHYLOCK Yes, to smell pork! To eat of the habitation
 which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the
35 devil into! I will buy with you, sell with you, talk
 with you, walk with you, and so following; but I
 will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with
 you.—What news on the Rialto?—Who is he comes

Enter Antonio.

BASSANIO 40This is Signior Antonio.
SHYLOCK, aside 
 How like a fawning publican he looks!
 I hate him for he is a Christian,
 But more for that in low simplicity
 He lends out money gratis and brings down
45 The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
 If I can catch him once upon the hip,
 I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

 He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
 Even there where merchants most do congregate,
50 On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,
 Which he calls “interest.” Cursèd be my tribe
 If I forgive him!
BASSANIO  Shylock, do you hear?
 I am debating of my present store,
55 And, by the near guess of my memory,
 I cannot instantly raise up the gross
 Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
 Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
 Will furnish me. But soft, how many months
60 Do you desire? To Antonio. Rest you fair, good
 Your Worship was the last man in our mouths.
 Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
 By taking nor by giving of excess,
65 Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
 I’ll break a custom. To Bassanio. Is he yet
 How much you would?
SHYLOCK  Ay, ay, three thousand
70 ducats.
ANTONIO And for three months.
 I had forgot—three months. To Bassanio.
 You told me so.—
 Well then, your bond. And let me see—but hear
75 you:
 Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow
 Upon advantage.
ANTONIO  I do never use it.
 When Jacob grazed his Uncle Laban’s sheep—
80 This Jacob from our holy Abram was

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

 (As his wise mother wrought in his behalf)
 The third possessor; ay, he was the third—
 And what of him? Did he take interest?
 No, not take interest, not, as you would say,
85 Directly “interest.” Mark what Jacob did.
 When Laban and himself were compromised
 That all the eanlings which were streaked and pied
 Should fall as Jacob’s hire, the ewes being rank
 In end of autumn turnèd to the rams,
90 And when the work of generation was
 Between these woolly breeders in the act,
 The skillful shepherd pilled me certain wands,
 And in the doing of the deed of kind
 He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
95 Who then conceiving did in eaning time
 Fall parti-colored lambs, and those were Jacob’s.
 This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;
 And thrift is blessing if men steal it not.
 This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for,
100 A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
 But swayed and fashioned by the hand of heaven.
 Was this inserted to make interest good?
 Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
 I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast.
105 But note me, signior—
ANTONIO, aside to Bassanio 
 Mark you this, Bassanio,
 The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose!
 An evil soul producing holy witness
 Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
110 A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
 O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Three thousand ducats. ’Tis a good round sum.
 Three months from twelve, then let me see, the
115 Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
 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
120 (For suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe).
 You call me misbeliever, cutthroat 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.
125 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.
130 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,
135 Say this: “Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday
 You spurned me such a day; another time
 You called me ‘dog’; and for these courtesies
 I’ll lend you thus much moneys”?
140 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

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

 A breed for barren metal of his friend?
145 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,
150 Forget the shames that you have stained 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 155This 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
160 Expressed 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.
 Content, in faith. I’ll seal to such a bond,
165 And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
 You shall not seal to such a bond for me!
 I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.
 Why, fear not, man, I will not forfeit it!
 Within these two months—that’s a month before
170 This bond expires—I do expect return
 Of thrice three times the value of this bond.
 O father Abram, what these Christians are,
 Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
 The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this:
175 If he should break his day, what should I gain

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 1. SC. 3

 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,
180 To buy his favor I extend this friendship.
 If he will take it, so. If not, adieu;
 And for my love I pray you wrong me not.
 Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
 Then meet me forthwith at the notary’s.
185 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 190 Hie thee, gentle Jew.
Shylock exits.
 The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.
 I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
 Come on, in this there can be no dismay;
 My ships come home a month before the day.
They exit.