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The Merchant of Venice

Book The Merchant of Venice
4.1811 votes
✒ Author
📖 Pages105
⏰ Reading time 3 hours 45 minutes
💡 Originally published1598
🌏 Original language English
📌 Type Plays
📌 Genres Dramaturgy, Drama, Realism

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Antonio – a merchant of Venice in melancholic mood
Bassanio – Antonio's friend; suitor to Portia
Gratiano, Salanio, Salerio, Salarino – friends of Antonio and Bassanio
Lorenzo – friend of Antonio and Bassanio, in love with Jessica
Portia – a rich heiress
Nerissa – Portia's waiting maid – in love with Gratiano
Balthazar – Portia's servant, who Portia later disguises herself as
Stephano – Nerissa's disguise as Balthazar's law clerk.
Shylock – a rich Jew, moneylender, father of Jessica
Jessica – daughter of Shylock, Lorenzo's girlfriend
Tubal – a Jew; Shylock's friend
Launcelot Gobbo – a servant to Shylock
Old Gobbo – father of Launcelot
Leonardo – slave to Bassanio
Duke of Venice – authority who presides over the case of Shylock's bond
Prince of Morocco – suitor to Portia
Prince of Arragon – suitor to Portia
Magnificoes of Venice, officers of the Court of Justice, gaoler, servants to Portia, and other attendants .

Act I

SCENE I. Venice. A street.

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:It wearies me; you say it wearies you;But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,I am to learn;And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,That I have much ado to know myself.
Your mind is tossing on the ocean;There, where your argosies with portly sail,Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,Do overpeer the petty traffickers,That curtsy to them, do them reverence,As they fly by them with their woven wings.
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,The better part of my affections wouldBe with my hopes abroad. I should be stillPlucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads;And every object that might make me fearMisfortune to my ventures, out of doubtWould make me sad.
My wind cooling my brothWould blow me to an ague, when I thoughtWhat harm a wind too great at sea might do.I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,But I should think of shallows and of flats,And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,Vailing her high-top lower than her ribsTo kiss her burial. Should I go to churchAnd see the holy edifice of stone,And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,Would scatter all her spices on the stream,Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,And, in a word, but even now worth this,And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thoughtTo think on this, and shall I lack the thoughtThat such a thing bechanced would make me sad?But tell not me; I know, AntonioIs sad to think upon his merchandise.
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Download the free e-book by William Shakespeare, «The Merchant of Venice» , in English. You can also print the text of the book. For this, the PDF and DOC formats are suitable.

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