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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 1

page Act 4 Scene 1 Page 10

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PORTIA

215I pray you, let me look upon the bond.

PORTIA

Please, let me review the contract.

SHYLOCK

(giving PORTIA a document)
Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

SHYLOCK

(he hands PORTIA a paper) Here it is, judge, here it is.

PORTIA

Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offered thee.

PORTIA

Shylock, they’re offering you three times the money you lent.

SHYLOCK

An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven.
220Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.

SHYLOCK

But I made an oath, an oath, an oath in heaven. Should I perjure my soul by disobeying it? No, not for all of Venice.

PORTIA

    Why, this bond is forfeit!
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant’s heart.—Be merciful.
225Take thrice thy money. Bid me tear the bond.

PORTIA

The money wasn’t paid back! And so the Jew may lawfully claim a pound of flesh nearest the merchant’s heart, to be cut off by him.—But please have mercy. Take three times your money. Tell me to tear up this contract.

SHYLOCK

When it is paid according to the tenor.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge.
You know the law. Your exposition
Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
230Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me. I stay here on my bond.

SHYLOCK

I’ll tear it up when it’s paid. You seem like a good judge. You know the law. Your explanation has made sense. I urge you to deliver your verdict. I swear that nothing anyone can say will change my mind. I’m sticking to the contract.

ANTONIO

Most heartily I do beseech the court
235To give the judgment.

ANTONIO

I beg the court to deliver the verdict.

PORTIA

    Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

PORTIA

Well, then, here it is: you must prepare yourself for his knife.

SHYLOCK

O noble judge! O excellent young man!

SHYLOCK

Oh, good judge! Oh, you excellent young man!