The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 5
No Fear Act 3 Scene 5 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

JESSICA

I’ll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say. Here he comes.

JESSICA

I’ll tell my husband what you’ve said, Launcelot. Here he comes.

LORENZO

25I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.

LORENZO

You’re going to make me jealous, Launcelot, if you keep taking my wife into dark corners like this!

JESSICA

Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo. Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly there is no mercy for me in heaven because I am a Jew’s daughter, and he says you are no good member of the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to Christians you raise the price of pork.

JESSICA

No, you don’t need to worry about us, Lorenzo. Launcelot and I can’t agree on anything. He says I won’t get into heaven because I’m a Jew’s daughter, and he says you’re irresponsible because by converting Jews to Christianity you’re raising the price of pork.

LORENZO

I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than you can the getting up of the Negro’s belly. The Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.

LORENZO

I can justify that better than you can justify sleeping with Portia’s African servant. The

Moor

Like the prince of Morocco, the servant referred to is a “Moor” or North African, in this case a black woman. Launcelot puns on the words “Moor” and “more.”

Moor
is pregnant with your child, Launcelot.

LAUNCELOT

35It is much that the Moor should be more than reason. But if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.

LAUNCELOT

It’s too bad there’s more of the Moor than there ought to be. Well, even if she’s a less than honest woman, she’s still a lot more respectable than I thought at first.

LORENZO

How every fool can play upon the word! I think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence, and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots. Go in, sirrah. Bid them prepare for dinner.

LORENZO

Any fool can make puns! I think the best sign of intelligence will soon be silence, and talking will only be a good thing for parrots to do. Go in and tell the servants to get ready for dinner.

LAUNCELOT

That is done, sir. They have all stomachs.

LAUNCELOT

That’s already been done, sir. They’re all ready to eat dinner.