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10 “As” is understood before to. 19 kept with: dwelt among. 26–31 “That is, ‘for the denial of those rights to strangers which

render their abode at Venice so commodious and agreeable to them, would much impeach the justice of the State.””

- MALONE. This interpretation makes commudily the antecedent of it in line 28. Another view is that course of law is the antecedent, and should be followed by a comma; that there should be a period or a colon after Venice, and that Will, line 29, should read “'Twill.” This gives for, line 27, the meaning on account of.” The second view is adopted by Theobald, Knight, and others. Though puzzling in construction, the passage conveys its meaning

clearly enough. 32 bated : reduced.




2 conceit: conception. 3 amity: that is, of course, the friendship between Bassanio

and Antonio. The second syllable is slurred. 9 “ Than you must be of your usual charities.” 12 waste: spend. 15 lineaments : characteristics. 20 What is Portia's meaning when she says my soul ? Explain

her line of reasoning in 22. 25 husbandry: stewardship. 30 her husband and my lord's return. “ Probably this idiom

arises partly from the readiness with which a compound phrase connected by a conjunction is regarded as one and

inseparable.” ABBOTT. 52 with imagined speed : with all the speed imaginable.

6 The passive participle is often used to signify, not that which was and is, but that which was, and, therefore, can be hereafter. In other words, -ed is used for -able.Аввотт,

Section 375. 53 tranect. This is possibly, as Capell conjectured, an other

wise unknown word for "ferry-boat”; and possibly a misprint for traject, an English form of the Italian traghetto, which meant rather the place of passage than the boat. It is evident that the word was, in either case, unfamiliar to an English audience, since Shakespeare makes Portia

explain further. 61 accomplished: fully supplied. 62 Wi that we lack: i.e. manliness. 72 I could not do withal : “I couldn't help it!”. an idiomatic

phrase which is frequently found in Elizabethan writings. 75 That: so that. 77 Jacks: fellows. The use of a certain proper name in this

representative way is not peculiar to Shakespeare's time.

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3 fear you: fear for you. 4 agitation : cogitation, in Gobbo-ese. 5 For a similar cheering assurance, see As You Like It, Act

III, sc. ii, lines 36–39. 9 enow: enough. 12 rasher on the coals: used as a compound expression, for a

favorite article of food in Shakespeare's time. Look up

the derivation of rasher. 28 cover: lay the table. The same word in line 29, or at least

in Launcelot's pretended understanding of that line, means to put on the hat, which would be disrespectful in the

presence of a superior. 31 quarrelling with occasion : picking quarrels with words on

every opportunity which is afforded. 39 suited. Equivalent to either . . . dressed-up, tricked out;

matched (here ill-matched) with the matter.”. ALLEN. 43, 44. What is here contrasted with word ? 43 How cheer'st thou : “ Are you in good spirits? How do you

like all this?45 In addition to that pretty Elizabethan fashion, the free use

of sweet (see sc. ii, line 312), we are to note here the peculiar persuasive force of good. It is used in this entreating manner, either with or without a noun. See Winter's Tale, Act. V, sc. i, line 19: “Good now, say so but seldom ”;



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also Hamlet, Act. I, sc. iii, line 46: “But, good my brother,

do not,” etc. 51 This line is very obscure. Probably mean it = mean to live

an upright life.” The present reading is that of the First Quarto, followed by the Globe editors ; that of the First

Folio is even less clear. Pope read merit it, In reason, etc. 61 a stomach: an appetite, an inclination (both to dine and to

praise; a play on the word).


Salanio and others. See note on stage direction, following

line 216, Act III, sc. ii. 7 qualify: moderate. 8 obdurate. See Introduction, IV. h. 3. 10 envy: malice, hatred. See Act III, sc. ii, line 279. 18 fashion: assumed appearance. 20 remorse : pity. 26 moiety: literally a half, but used by Shakespeare for any

portion. 39 Here Shakespeare makes Shylock speak as if Venice were

London. He is not always careless of detail, but his main interest seems to be in keeping true to the essentials of human nature. Sometimes, we may be sure, he deliberately permits himself to use an inaccuracy which will appeal more directly to his audience than an

curate, but unfamiliar, term. 43 humour: whim. 47 a gaping pig: probably a roasted pig, with mouth open. 49, 50 See note on affections, passions, Act III, sc. i, line 51.

What is the antecedent of it in line 50? of it in line 51 ?

The old texts are obscure in line 50, and there is a possi

bility that we should read “master” instead of mistress. 56 certain : confirmed, rooted. 60 What is the metaphor in current? 64 offence : the resentment caused by an offensive action. 61-65 This arrangement of dialogue in alternate lines is a

Greek form, called stichomythia. Shakespeare sometimes uses it in his earlier plays.




72 Supply “ bid them” after and. 73 fretten. An old form of the past participle. 88 parts : functions, offices. 119 See note on Act I, sc. i, line 19. 124 inexecrable: a word not elsewhere found, apparently meaning

that cannot be sufficiently execrated.” 125 for thy life: i.e. for letting thee live. 130, 131 A twisted construction. Compare Act I, sc. i, lines 146,

147. 156 no impediment to let him lack. The sense of this contradic

tory expression is plain enough. It may be considered as proceeding from a slight confusion of thought, or as elliptical: "no impediment [so operating as] to let him lack."

Compare lines 71, 72. 158 whose : equivalent to "for his,” or perhaps “for your.” 167 throughly. Compare Act II, sc. vii, line 42. 174 within his danger : in his debt. 176 must : here used without the idea of compulsion, to indicate

that Shylock's mercy is the only thing that can Antonio. “ Then (if you are to escape the penalty) the

Jew must be merciful; there is no other way.” 177 Shylock understands must in the usual sense. 178 “ The nature of mercy is [that it is] not compelled.” This

passage is so frequently torn from the context that its

true bearing is apt to be forgotten. 185 The attribute to: the property of. 185 awe and majesty: by hendiadys (for which see a rhetoric or

dictionary), “awful majesty.” Attribute is apparently in apposition with power. “Temporal power -- that property

of kingship which causes kings to be feared.” 191 seasons : qualifies, moderates. 217 A Daniel come to judgement ! “ Then this Daniel was pre

ferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him

over the whole realm.” Daniel, vi. 3. 249 balance. This is really plural, as the verb indicates. Nouns

ending in ce, and indeed all nouns having s as the terminal sound, often dispensed with the plural s; and even when written it was sometimes unpronounced.

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272, 273 Repent but you, etc. “Only regret ... and I regret

If you feel sorrow for the loss of me, your very sorrow shall console me, making me willing to die.” Compare Sonnet CXI:

“Pity me, then, dear end, and I assure ye

Even that your pity is enough to cure me.”


so: provided that. 290 Barrabas. Here, as in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, accented on

the first syllable. This pronunciation and this spelling are also found in Tyndale's Bible and Coverdale's Bible. For the force of Shylock's words, see the Gospel of St. John

xviii. 40: “ Now Barabbas was a robber.” 300 jot: this strong little word has an interesting derivation. 303 the cutting it. According to Abbott, cutting is a noun, and

therefore preceded by the ; but such verbals are, among Elizabethan writers, so far confused with the gerund as to be allowed to govern a direct object. See Shakespearian

Grammar, Section 93. Compare Act I, sc. ii, line 88. 305 confiscate. As explained by Abbott (Section 342), words of

the class to which this belongs, being directly derived from Latin participles, may themselves be regarded as participial

adjectives, without the addition of d. 321 just : exact. 322, 323 The Globe editors retain, after substance, the comma of

the old editions. But the whole expression seems to be, as Rev. John Hunter points out, “in the substance or the division of” a grain, which is the twentieth part of a scruple. “Be it but so much as makes the flesh cut off light or

heavy by the amount, nay, by the fraction, of a grain.” 328 on the hip. See note on Act I, sc. iii, line 40. 340 question : discussion, argument. 374 So please : if it please. 375 quit: remit. 376 I am content: i.e. content to do the same. “ I do not want

the other half of his goods (for myself).” 376 so: provided that. 377 in use : “in trust for Shylock for life, with remainder, after

Shylock's death, for Jessica's husband.” – Lewin, quoted by

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