In the olden days, there were several poets and play writers. Shakespear was very notable for his plays and rhymes. Present generation should certainly understand him and feel proud of his talents. Here we can read his play “Merchant of Venice”.
Notable roles in this play are Antonia, (Merchant), Bassanio (his friend), Gratiano (another friend), Portia (Rich Lady who loved Gratiano), Nerissa (a servant who too loved Gratiano), Shylock (a Jewish money lender), Jessica (his daughter), Lorenzo (Lorenzo loved Jessica), Moracco Arragan (who wished to marry Portia).
The merchant of Venice:
Long ago, there lived in Venice, in Italy, a man called Antonio. He was a merchant, owning many ships, which traded with distant countries; and he was a good man as well as a rich one.Antonio’s greatest friend was a young soldier, Bossanio, who loved a beautiful lady called Portia. But Bossanio was not a wealthy man, and he did not like to ask Portia to marry him, because she was as rich as she was beautiful. At last, how ever, he asked Antonio to lend him some money, so that he could visit Portia at Belmont. Where she lived and at least find out if she loved him.
It happened that at this time all Antonio’s ships were at sea and until they returned he had no money to lend Bassanio. “But go to a money Lender” he said to his friend. “Barrow the money you need from him, and tell him that, when my ships come in, I will pay him back all that he has lent you”.
Now there lived in Venice an old Jew named Shylock. The Jews in those days were the money-leders of Venice. They lent money, but forced people to pay so heavily for the loan that Jews became very rich. Shylock was one of the greediest Jews in Venice. Antonio hated him for his wicked ways, and he had often insulted the Jew and spoken rudely to him. For this reason, Shylock hated Antonio too and was anxious to revenge the insults.
Bassonio, knowing that Shylock was very rich,went to him to barrow the money he needed. Shylock was delighted when he heard that Antonio had promised to pay back the loan. He thought that his enemy had been given into his hands and he made a wicked plan. He pretended to be generous and said he would lend Bassonio the money and would charge anything for the loan. “But Antonio must pay me back in three months”. Shylock said. “And just for a Joke, he must sign a bond promising that I may cut off a pound of flesh from his body if money is not paid!
Bossonio had no faith in shylock, and did not like Antonio to make such terrible promise but Antonio thought that shylock was really joking, and he said. “I am indeed content to sign such a bond. Do not be afraid, Bossonio. My ships will return a month before the money is in due, and then I shall have three times as much as Shylock has lent to you. And Antonio sighed the bond.
“I did not like the promise,” said Bossonio uneasily but Antonio said again. “You need have no fear. My ships will come home a month before the day”. So, Bossonio unwillingly took the money, said good-bye to Antonio sailed away to Belmont. He took one of his friends, an young man called Gratiano with him.
The beautiful Portia lived in a big house in Belmont with her servant-compaion, Nerissa. Her father had died recently and had left her a great deal of money. He had been a wise old man and to protect his daughter from greedy men who might try to marry her because she was so rich he left Portia three boxes. One of the boxes contained her picture, and who ever choose this box was to be Portia’s husband. Just before Bossonio arrived from Venice, a king’s son came from Africa to visit Portia. This prince of Morocco was powerful and wealthy and he wished to marry her; but Portia did not love him and she hoped that he would choose the wrong box.
“It is not hard Nerissa? She confided to her servant. “I can not choose the man I wish to marry or refuse those I dislike!
“You have plenty of admirers to choose from, Nerissa Said” But do you remember a young man from Venice, who once visited your father?”
“Yes, Yes” Portia answered. “It was Bossonio, I think that was his name?”
“True Madam” said Nerissa. “And I think he deserved more than any of the others”
“I remember him well, and I remember he was worthy of your praise” said Portia sadly. But I can not marry him unless he comes and chooses the right box”.
“Perhaps he will. Nerissa comforted her. Your father was a wise man and virtuous man” I am sure he will have arranged the boxes so that the right will choose the right box! Nerissa’s sensible remarks made Portia feel more cheerful as she showed the three boxes to the dark-skinned African from Morocco. He examined them carefully, and read the words written on the outside of each one. On the gold box was written.
“Who ever chooses me shall gain what many men desire”. On the silver box was written: “Who ever chooses me shall get as much as he deserves”.
And on the plain box, made of lead, was written: “Who ever chooses me must give and risk all that he has”
“What many men desire “the prince of Morocco said, looking at the golden box. “That must be the fair Portia, and her picture will certainly be inside the box of gold”.
He opened it, but all he found inside was an ugly skull, and piece of paper containing there words.
“All that shines is not gold. Good-bye! So the prince of Morocco sadly said goodbye to Portia and returned to Africa.
The next visitor was the prince of Arragon, and he too, was shown the three boxes. This prince was a young vain man with a very high opinion of him and chooses the silver box. But the box contained nothing but a fool’s head and these words:
“Many fools are hidden behind a silver covering”. So be gone, sir! The prince felt very silly. Went away as sadly as Morocco had done.
Then Bossonio and Grationo arrived, and Bossonio begged Portia to permit him to try his luck with the three boxes. She was very much afraid that he might choose the wrong box, but she dared not to tell him, which was the right one. He looked at the box of gold and the box of the silver, and shook his head.
‘The things which are most beautiful outside are often the ugliest within’ he said. ‘I choose the plain lead box!
Portia was filled with joy as Bosssonio opened the box and found inside a lovely picture of her. They arranged to be married at once, and Bossonio’s friend, Grationo, asked for permission to marry Nerissa at the same time.
But their happiness was soon disturbed by bad news. A ship from Venice, bringing a friend of Bossonio called Lorenzo. With Lorenzo was his wife Jessica, the beautiful daughter of shylock the Jew. Shylock had always been harsh and cruel to Jessica, and she knew he would never consent to her marrying, Lorenzo; first because he was not a Jew, and secondly because he was a friend of Antonio’s. So one night she ran away from her father’s house to marry Lorenzo, taking with her a great deal of money and some jewels.
They had come to Belmont to escape Shylock’s anger, and they brought with them a letter to Bossonio from Antonio. Bossonio read the letter and he turned so pale that Portia feared that his friend must be dead.
“What is it Bossonio? She asked anxiously. “You must let me share the bad news that this letter brings”.
“Oh sweet Portia Said Bossonio. “Here are some of the most unpleasant words that have ever been written”.
The letter told him that Antonio’s six ships full of riches, had all been wrecked at sea and Antonio’s money had been been lost with them. And this was not all. Shylock hated Antonio more than ever. Since his friend, Lorenzo ran away with Jessica. He was so angry at the loss of his daughter and his money; as that he walked about the street crying; My daughter! My money! My Jewels! Justice, Justice! Find me my money and my daughter” And when he heard that all Antonio’s ships were lost he was very glad. Now he could revenge himself on Antonio and on all those who loved the brave young merchant.
Shylock went to the Duke of Venice and told him of Antonio’s bargain and of the bond he had signed.
“Antonio can not pay the money’ said shylock. “He must there fore keep his promise and pay me the pound of flesh”.
Jessica feared about her father’s tendency. Bossonio was terribly disturbed by the mews and decided that he must return at once to Venice to try to save his friend. Portia permitted him for his travel.
“Let us be married now she said “And then you must go to Venice at once. You shall have gold to pay this deft twenty times over. When it is paid bring your true friend here”.
So they married. After the ceremony Bossonio and Gratiano set off at once for Venice. They found that the trial was just beginning.
Antonio did not ask for mercy. He thought that a man must keep his promise. Otherwise people would think the merchants of Venice were not honest men.
The Duke of Venice, who was judging the case, begged Shylock to be merciful.
Shylock said angrily “Do not all men want to kill the thing they hate?”
Bossonio said “I will give twice as much as Antonio owes you, if you will let him go free”.
Shylock again answered “if you give me six thousand times the amount he owes me, I should still ask for my pound of flesh”.
Shylock began to sharpen the long knife he had brought with him.
But at that moment a messenger came to the Duke with the news that a clever young lawyer had arrived from another town to judge the case. Almost the lawyer entered the court accompanied by his clerk. They both looked very young but they brought with them a written introduction from a lawyer friend of the Duke, who assured him that the young man was well qualified to judge the case. His wisdom was soon shown by the careful questions he put to the Jew.
The lawyer begged the Jew to be merciful. Shylock shouted, “Why should I be merciful?”
The lawyer answered, “Mercy is twice blessed. Shylock would not listen. He could think of nothing but revenge and he refused to take the money Bossonio offered.
The lawyer argued in the way of shylock’s accordance. “The young lawyer asked, “Are there balances here to weigh the flesh?”
“Have you called a doctor, to stop his wounds in case he bleeds to death? Replique montre rolex
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The young lawyer asked Antonio “if he had any thing to say Antonio replied “No”.
“A pound of this merchant’s flesh is yours, said the lawyer to Shylock. When Shylock was about to put his knife on Antonio. The lawyer said, “Wait a little”. This letter or “bond” you bear, does not promise you; Not a single drop of blood and if while you are taking his flesh if he happens to bleed, you have to give all your wealth and money to the State. Now it was Grationo’s turn to praise the lawyer. Shylock felt defeated. Then the lawyer said, “The Duke must decide on Shylock’s punishment.
The Duke said, “I shall show you more mercy than you showed to Antonio. Then the Duke continued, “I give you your life, but your money must be given to Antonio and to the State”
Shylock again felt twice defeated. He cried out “Take my life as well. How can I live if you take the means by which I live”?
The kindhearted Antonio pitying the broken old man said gently. “Let him keep my share of the property but on one condition when he dies he must leave all his possessions to his daughter Jessica and her husband”.
The Duke agreed and Shylock left the court. The lawyer in his privacy told Antonio, digital cables
and Bossonio that he is none other but Portia disguised in the form of lawyer and additional judge in this critical movement. She came from Belmont to Venice to save her kinds. The person who came as Advocate’s Clerk was none other than Nerissa. She accompanied Portia in her Venture.
Posted by Ashok Georgia Annamalai
Posted Date 19.10.2014