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Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#1/Background/Act 1, Scene 1

Long ago, Venice had a prosperous merchant named Antonio,
who had a friend in Bassanio, who had a friend, a beautiful young lady, living
in Belmont.  But since Bassanio didn’t
have the funds to get to Belmont to visit her about a matter that will soon be
brought to our attention, Antonio suggested he borrow some money from Shylock,
using Antonio’s good credit as collateral.
The play opens with Antonio saying “I know not why I am so sad.”  Antonio’s friend Salarino says “your mind is
tossing on the ocean, where your merchant ships sail.”  Solanio, another friend, says “Misfortune to
my ventures would make me sad.”  Salarino
again jumps in, saying “I know Antonio is sad to think upon his
merchandise.”  Antonio says “Believe me,
no.  My merchandise makes me not
sad.”  Solanio says “Why then you are in
love.”  Antonio replies “Fie, fie!”  Bassanio, Gratiano, and Lorenzo enter.  Salarino and Solanio exit. All have agreed
that Antonio is sad.  Giving Antonio
advice, Gratiano says “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”  As Gratiano and Lorenzo leave for dinner, Antonio
asks Bassanio to “tell me now what lady is the same you swore a secret
pilgrimage.”  Bassanio says “To you,
Antonio, I owe the most in money and in love.
I need to unburden my purposes to clear the debts I owe.”  Antonio replies “Let me know it.  Be assured my means lie all unlocked to your
occasions.”  Bassanio says “In Belmont is
a lady richly left, and she is fair, and of wondrous virtues.  Her name is Portia.  Winds blow in from every coast renowned
suitors.  O my Antonio, had I but the
means to hold a rival place with one of them.”
Antonio says “Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea.  Therefore go forth: try what my credit can in
Venice do, to furnish thee to Belmont to fair Portia.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#2/Suitors/Act 1, Scene 2

The scene shifts to Belmont where Portia says to Nerissa,
her key aide, “By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great
world.”  Nerissa chides her a bit.  Portia lets us know the central issue: “I may
neither choose me a husband I would nor refuse who I dislike.  So is the will of a living daughter curbed by
the will of a dead father.  I cannot
choose one, nor refuse none.”  Nerissa
replies “your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good
inspirations.”  Nerissa goes on to say
“There are three chests of gold, silver, and lead, whereof who chooses his
meaning chooses you.”  Nerissa asks “What
of these princely suitors that are already come?”  Portia says “I pray thee, say their
names.”  Nerissa says “The Neapolitan
prince.”  Portia says “He doth nothing
but talk of his horse.”  Nerissa says
“Then there is the County Palatine.”
Portia says “He hears merry tales and smiles not.” Nerissa asks “What of
the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?”
Portia replies “God made him, and therefore let him pass for a
man.”  Nerissa asks “What of
Falconbridge, the young baron of England?”
Portia says “I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I
him.”  Nerissa asks “Like you the young
German, the Duke of Saxony’s nephew?”
Portia replies “Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober; and most
vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk.”
Nerissa asks “Do you not remember, lady, a Venetian, a scholar and a
soldier?” Excitedly, Portia says “Yes, yes, it was Bassanio.”  A Servingman enters and says “The Prince of
Morocco will be here tonight.”  Portia
says “If I could bid the sixth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the
other five farewell, I should be glad of his approach.”  They exit.

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#3/Collateral/Act 1, Scene 3

The scene shifts back to Venice.  Bassanio and Shylock are on stage.  Shylock says “Three thousand ducats.”  Bassanio says “For three months, for the
which, I am told, Antonio shall be bound.”
Shylock replies “Antonio is a good man.
His means are uncertain; yet, the man is security.  Three thousand ducats, I think may take his
bond.  May I speak with Antonio?  Who is he comes here?”  Antonio enters. Bassanio says “This is
Signior Antonio.” Shylock remains silent. Aside, Shylock says “I hate him for
he is a Christian, but more for that he lends out money gratis.”  Bassanio says “Shylock, do you hear?”  Shylock responds “I am debating how much
ready cash I have. What of that?  Tubal
will furnish me. How many months do you desire?”  Antonio says “For three months.”  Shylock says “I had forgot — three months.”  Shylock reminds Antonio how he has “in the
Rialto berated me about my moneys and my interest.”  Antonio says “lend it not as to thy friends,
but rather to thy enemy, who, if he becomes bankrupt, thou mayst with better
face exact the penalty.”  Shylock
responds “Why, look you how you storm!
This is kind I offer.”  Bassanio
says “This were kindness!”  Shylock says
“This kindness will I show.  If you repay
me not on such a day, let the forfeit be exactly a pound of your fair
flesh.”  Antonio responds “I’ll seal to
such a bond. Within these two months I do expect return three times the
bond.”  Shylock says “What should I
gain?  A pound of man’s flesh is not so
valuable as flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats, I say.”  Antonio says “Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto
this bond.”  Shylock says “Then meet me
forthwith at the notary’s.”  Shylock
exits.  Bassanio says to Antonio “I like
not fair terms and a villain’s mind.”
Antonio says “Come on, in this there can be no dismay; my ships come
home a month before the day.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#4/Lottery/Act 2, Scene 1

The scene opens in Belmont.  Portia greets the Prince of Morocco.  He says “I would not change my complexion,
the dark uniform of the burnished sun, except to steal your thoughts, my gentle
queen.”  She says “The lott’rey of my
destiny bars me the right of voluntary choosing, but if my father had not
restricted me, yourself looked as fair to me as any comer I have looked on yet
for my affection.”  He says “Therefore I
pray you lead me to the caskets to try my fortune.  She lets him know it’s all in the choosing of
the right casket, warning him that “if you choose wrong you must never speak to
a lady afterward in way of marriage.”  He
continues, saying “bring me unto my chance.”
She says “After dinner your hazard shall be made.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#5/Developments/Act 2, Scene 2

The scene opens in Venice.  Lancelet is Shylock’s servant and is on stage.  He lets us know he is unhappy in is role as
Shylock’s aide, and that he plans to leave him.
Lancelet’s father enters and, being “more than sandblind,” does not recognize
his son.  Lancelet says “I am Lancelet,
the Jew’s man, and I am sure Margery your wife is my mother.”  His father says “Her name is Margery,
indeed.”  The father has a present for
Shylock.  Lancelet says “Give me your
present to one Master Bassanio.  If I
serve him not, I will run as far as God has any ground.”  Bassanio enters.  The father tells Bassanio in an indirect way
that his son would like to serve him, Bassanio not quite getting the drift of the
intention of the conversation. Bassanio finally asks “What would you?”  Lancelet says “Serve you, sir.  I’ll take my leave of the Jew in an
instant.”  Lancelet and his father
exit.  Gratiano enters and says “Senior
Bassanio, I must go with you to Belmont.”
Bassanio says “Why then you must, but thou art too wild and rude, and in
such eyes as ours appear not faults.  But
where thou art not known, and through thy wild behavior I may be misunderstood
and lose my hopes.”  Gratiano says “trust
me.”  I’ll be on good behavior.  Bassanio replies “Well, we shall see your
bearing.”  They exit.

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#6/Elope/Act 2, Scenes 3-6

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, and Lancelet are on stage,
Jessica saying “I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so.  Lancelet, soon at supper, give Lorenzo, thy
new master’s guest, this letter. Do it secretly.”  Lancelet exits.  To herself, Jessica says “O Lorenzo, if thou
keep promise, I shall end this strife, become a Christian and thy loving wife.”  During Bassanio’s dinner party that night, Lancelet
enters and hands Lorenzo Jessica’s letter.  Gratiano is there as a guest.  Lancelet prepares to leave.  Lorenzo asks “Whither goest thou?”  Lancelet replies “Marry, sir, to bid my old
master the Jew to sup tonight with my new master the Christian.”  Lorenzo says “Tell gentle Jessica I will not
fail her.  Speak it privately.”  Lancelet exits.  Gratiano asks Lorenzo ‘Was not that a letter
from fair Jessica?”  Lorenzo tells him
that “Jessica hath directed how I shall take her from her father’s house, what
with gold and jewels she is furnished with.
Come, go with me.”  Meanwhile, in
his home, Shylock calls for his daughter.
She enters.  He says “I am bid
forth to supper, Jessica.  There are the
keys.  Look to my house.”  Lancelet tells him “My young master doth
expect your approach.”  Shylock replies “So
do I his.”  Aside to Jessica, Lancelet
says “Look out at the window; there will come a Christian by.”  Lancelet exits.  Shylock turns to his daughter, saying
“Perhaps I will return immediately.  Do
as I bid you.  Shut doors after
you.”  He exits.  Gratiano and Salarino quickly appear outside
Shylock’s house, waiting for Lorenzo to arrive.
Lorenzo is late, Salarino commenting that “ten times faster pigeons fly
to seal love’s bonds new-made.”  Lorenzo
finally enters.  Jessica enters
above.  She’s dressed as a boy.  It is Easter Monday, a night for masquerades
and painted masks. She throws a “casket” full of gold and jewels to Lorenzo,
saying “It is worth the pains.”  Jessica
tells him she’ll be right down.  Lorenzo
tells Gratiano “I love her heartily” and that she is “wise, fair, and
true.”  She enters below. Antonio enters,
crying “Fie, fie, Gratiano, ‘tis nine o’ clock!
Our friends all stay for you.  The
wind is come about; Bassanio presently will go aboard.”  Gratiano says “I desire no more delight than
to be under sail and gone tonight.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#7/Morocco/Act 2, Scene 7

The scene is Belmont.
Portia and the Prince of Morocco enter.
A curtain is drawn.  Portia says
“Now make your choice.”  Morocco tells us
the inscription on the gold chest reads “Who chooseth me shall gain what many
men desire;” on the silver, “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves;”
on the lead, who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.”  He asks “How shall I know if I do choose the
right?”  Portia says “The one of them contains
my picture, prince.  If you choose that,
then I am yours withal.”  He says “Let’s
see once more this saying graved in gold: Who chooseth me shall gain what many
men desire.”  He says “Why, that’s the lady!  All the world desires her.  Deliver me the key.  Here do I choose, and thrive I as I
may.”  He opens the gold casket.  Inside is a “written scroll.”  It reads “All that glitters is not gold, fare
you well, your suit is cold.”   He
exits.  Portia says “A gentle riddance!  Draw the curtains, go.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#8/Developments/Act 2, Scene 8

Salarino and Solanio are on stage discussing current
events.  We learn that Salarino has
reason to believe that Lorenzo and Jessica “were not with Bassanio on his
ship.”  Solanio tells us how upset
Shylock is; he having heard him say “My daughter, my ducats, fled with a
Christian, justice, my ducats, my daughter, two sealed bags of ducats, two rich
and precious stones, stolen by my daughter.
Find the girl!”  Salarino lets us
know that “a Frenchman yesterday let him know that in the Narrow Seas that part
the French and English, there miscarried a vessel of our country richly
fraught.”  Solanio says “You were best to
tell Antonio what you hear.”  Salarino
doesn’t answer him, but says “A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.”  He goes on to tell Solanio that Antonio had
told Bassanio “to be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts to courtship and
to not let the Jew’s bond enter in your mind of love.”  He goes on to say that “even then, his eye
being big with tears, turning his face, he wrung Bassanio’s hand —- and so
they parted.”

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#9/Arragon/Act 2, Scene 9

The Prince of Arragon and Portia are on stage.  She tells him “Behold, there stand the
caskets, noble prince.  If you choose
that wherein I am contained, straight shall our nuptial rites be
solemnized.  But if you fail, my lord,
you must be gone from hence immediately.”
Arragon tells us he is “never to unfold to anyone which casket ‘twas I
chose; and if I fail of the right casket, never in my life to woo a maid in way
of marriage; and if I do fail in fortune of my choice, immediately to leave
you, and be gone.”  He peruses the
chests.  He opens the silver chest.  He says “What’s here?  The portrait of a blinking idiot with a
scroll, which reads ‘how much unlike art thou to Portia!’   He asks “Did I deserve no more than a fool’s
head?  Is that my prize?”  He then says “What is here?”  He reads “There be fools alive, certainly,
silvered o’er, and so was this.  So
begone; you are sped.”  He exits.  A Messenger enters and says “Madam, there is
alighted at your gate a young Venetian.
He bringeth sensible greetings and gifts.”  He also tells her that he passes the politeness
and appearance tests.  Portia says “Come,
Nerissa, for I long to see quick Cupid’s post that comes so mannerly.”  They exit.

Abridged The Merchant of Venice/#10/Revenge/Act 3, Scene 1

Solanio and Salarino are on stage where Solanio asks
“Now, what news on the Rialto?”  Salarino
replies “It lives there unchecked that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading
wrecked on the English Channel, the Goodwins.”
Shylock enters. Solanio asks him “What news among the merchants?”  He replies “You know of my daughter’s flight.  My own flesh and blood to rebel.”  Salarino says “But tell us, do you hear
whether Antonio hath had any loss at sea or no?”  Shylock responds “He was wont to call me
usurer; let him look to his bond.”
Salarino says “Why, I am sure if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his
flesh!  What’s that good for?”  Shylock says “To bait fish withal; if it will
feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.”
He goes on to say “Hath not a Jew eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands, senses, affections, passions?”  A Servingman enters to tell Solanio and
Salarino that Antonio wants to see them.
They exit.  Tubal enters; Tubal is
another moneylender.  Shylock asks him
“Hast thou found my daughter?”  Tubal
says “I hear of her, but cannot find her.”
An angry Shylock tells him that she took “two thousand ducats and
precious jewels!”  Tubal says “Other men
have ill luck, too.”  Shylock cries “Ill
luck?”  Tubal breaks the tension,
shifting the subject to the reported to be ship lost at sea.”  A focused Shylock says “I shall never see my
gold again.”  Again, attempting to soften
the conversation, Tubal says “But Antonio is certainly undone.”  Shylock says “That’s true, that’s very
true.”  They exit.