Three thousand pieces of gold did you say? Shylock the money tender, thoughtfully rubbed his chin Yes agreed Bassano “For three months, did you say?” asked Shylock you lend Bassano three thousand pieces of gold I shall pay you back in three months’ time, said Antonio. The men lived in the city of Venice which was a great center of trade Shylock was very rich and he often lent money to merchants. But he was one of the least popular men in the city and was hated by most good people of Venice His only ambition in line was to make money. When he tents money, he always asked for enormous amounts of interest to be paid on it. If people failed to pay back the money, or were unable to pay the interest on it, then Shylock always made sure that they were Antonio, unlike Shylock, was one of the most respected members of the community. He was a merchant and if he lent money, he never asked for interest on it and he also helped people to pay back loans and interest to Shylock Because of this, Shylock hated him Often, when Shylock and Antonio met, Antonio annoyed Shylock by Accusing him of making men pay enormous amounts of interest on money they borrowed. He also accused him of making money out of other people’s bad luck. Usually, Shylock said nothing but secretly he longed for revenge.
He wouldn’t break the law to get his revenge, but he was determined to get his revenge in some way. He had put up with Antonio and his accusations for long enough. And now here was his enemy asking for help. Perhaps this was the opportunity for the revenge he wanted. Bassanio, one of Antonio’s greatest friends, needed some money so that he could go and ask a girl, who he admired very much, to marry him. All Antonio’s money had been used to prepare his ships for trading voyages, but Antonio had agreed to pay back the money Bassanio borrowed from Shylock when his ships returned. The two men now waited silently while Shylock was thinking “Well, Shylock, what’s your answer?” asked Antonio, at last. “I don’t know if I should lend you the money,” said Shylock. “? know you hate me. Often you have not only said I was greedy, but you have also said I was cruel. You should have been politer to me. Why should I lend you money? But … I shall forget all that … I would like to be friends with you. I’ll make an agreement with you. I will not only lend you the money, but I shall also ask no interest on it.” Antonio was astonished. This was most unlike Shylock. “Instead, in the agreement, let us say – just in fun, of course that if you don’t pay the money back in three months’ time, I can have a pound of flesh from any part of your body I like.” “No” shouted Bassanio. ‘You must never make an agreement like that. I shouldn’t have asked you for the money at all.” “Don’t worry, Bassanio,” said Antonio. “My ships will have returned a month before then, carrying goods many times more valuable than the amount of the loan. Then the agreement will be useless!”
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” interrupted Shylock. “Even if he doesn’t pay the money back, what will get? A pound of human flesh is no use agreement to be friendly!” to me. I’d rather have a pound of beef that I could eat. I’m only making this “All right,” agreed Antonio. “I’ll sign the agreement.”
The three men want at once to a lawyer who wrote a 000.ment and watched while Shylock and Antonio signed “You should have refused to sign it. Anton You shouldn’t have signed it,” repeated Bassanio worried “You can’t break an agreement you have signed “I won’t lose my pound of Mesh. Bassano” sad Anton My son will have returned by then. In a short time, Bassano had the money and began to preparations “Portia is one of the most beautiful girls in the world Portia was famous not only in the state of Venice but a so in foreign countries for her loveliness. Her father, an important man in the state realized that when he died Portia would be very nice. He wanted to me sure that the man who married her would be wise and clever. And so had designed a competition. Each man had to promise that of read would never marry anyone else. Men from all districts of the state of Venice had come, but the majority had refused to make the promise Others had come from other countries, had tried and fa led. When Bassanio arrived at Portia’s house, he was shown a table where three boxes stood. One was made of gold, one of silver and one of lead. Whoever chose the box which bad Portia’s picture in it would be allowed to marry her. Bassanio looked at the gold box, one of the loveliest ornaments he had seen. He gazed at the silver one, shining in the light. At last, he looked at the lead box. Lead was the least valuable of the metals and the lead box was the least beautiful of the three. Bassanio bent down to read the words on the lead box “Whoever chooses me, must risk everything he has “Can I risk losing everything? I have taken risks before, but should I risk everything for a cheap metal like lead? Yes. I shall risk choosing this one. “Bassanio picked up the lead box. He was almost afraid of opening it. Slowly he lifted the lid of the box. Suddenly, he gave a yell of success There in the bottom was the beautiful picture of Portia. “Oh, Bassanio, I am so pleased,” said Portia. “1 must be one of the happiest girls alive!”
At once, they began to make plans for their wedding and Portia gave Bassanio a valuable ring. If you lose this ring, or give it away, then I shall know you no longer love me, she said Just then a messenger arrived “Excuse me sir. he said “I have a letter for you. Portia watched while Bassanio read the letter Suddenly he spoke This is terrible news,” he whispered, “It can’t be true! Oh, I should never have allowed him to sign that agreement!” Quickly. Bassanio told Portia about the agreement between Antonio and Shylock The terrible news was that every single one of Antonio’s ships had sunk and that Antonio was now in prison waiting for his trial Shylock was determined that Antonio should not break the agreement “Every day. Shylock has been to the lawyers to ask when the trial is going to take place Antonio cannot escape the trial,” said the messenger “I should never have allowed him to sign the agreement,” said
Bassanio sadly “Go to him at once. Use any amount of my money to save him from trial,” said Portia. Bassanio rushed back to Venice where he spent days trying to make Shylock forgive Antonio but is was no use. At last, it was the morning of the trial. The court house was crowded with people, chattering nervously “But this is terrible” said one man “If Shylock gets his pound of flesh, Antonio will die.” “He says he will use it for bait,” said another “Bait?” asked third “Bait for what?” “Bait for fishes. It sounds unbelievable, but I heard him say he wants Antonio’s flesh to use for bait. He is determined to get his revenge “He cannot escape death now!” “Silence in the court!”. At once, the chattering stopped, and all eyes turned towards the prisoner The Duke of Venice, ruder or the state, entered the room Then Shylock strutted into the court, smiling cruelly “Shylock,” said the Duke. “We are here to ask you to forgive this man Forget his terrible agreement “And I am here to get justice toplined Shylock. “If you allow this man to go free, it will not be justice. The state of Venice is famous for its wisdom and justice. If you allow this man to go free, you will lose control of the law Any criminal will know he can do anything he wants to in Venice, where there is no law and no justice.”
“It’s no use, said Antonio. “Let him have his justice” Shylock, take six thousand pieces of gold,” said Bassanio, offering him the money “Money is the least important thing now,” said Shylock. “Don’t offer me money. I want justice. “The Duke shook his head. “I can see no other way. Shylock must have his justice. But I have sent for another judge, an expert called Bellario.
“Excuse me, sir,” interrupted a court messenger. “A letter has just arrived from Bellario. It says ‘To the Duke, ruler of the state of Venice When your message arrived, I was very sick. But I have chosen a young man called Balthazar to be my representative in court. He is very young, but he is one of the wisest and cleverest lawyers I know.” Just then, Balthazar, the young lawyer, entered the room. Everyone was astonished to see such a young person. “Welcome to our court,” said the Duke. “Bellario has told me about the agreement,” the lawyer began as soon as it was quiet. “Antonio, can you offer this man the money?” “I have offered him money, but he refuses the offer,” said Bassanio “Shylock, will you forgive this man?” asked the lawyer. “No, I certainly won’t!” said Shylock. “I want my pound of
flesh! “Can’t you change the law?” asked Bassanio. “Even, the Duke here cannot break the law without being punished. “said the lawyer. “The law can certainly not be changed, not even for the Duke! “Oh, what wisdom!” said Shylock, smiling. “Shylock will certainly be given his rights. The pound of flesh must be taken. You want to take it from the place nearest his heart. Is that right Shylock?” “Certainly, sir,’ said Shylock, rubbing his hands. “You have refused Bassanio’s offer of money, said the lawyer. “Now, Antonio, you must prepare yourself for Shylock’s knife. Have you anything to say?” “I have nothing to say. I am ready for death.” Antonio’s quiet voice could be heard in every corner of the silent room. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Come on We’re wasting time,” said Shylock, rubbing his finger along the sharp edge of his knife. “Are the scales ready to weigh the flesh?” asked the lawyer Yes, certainly, they are here, replied Shylock ‘Then take the pound of fish “Everyone in the court house gazed at the man they all loved and respected. Nothing could save Antonio now” “How wise you are said Shylock “Justice will be done.” Quickly. Shylock advanced towards Antonio, the knife in his hand. But wait a minute. Shylock!” interrupted the lawyer “There is some-thing else. The agreement allows you to take one pound of flesh. Is that correct?
“”Yes, certainly.” said Shylock, Yes – one pound of flesh But All the people in the court held their breath and Shylock looked suspiciously at the lawyer “But continued the lawyer”. It does not allow you to take one single drop of blood If you take even one single drop of this man’s blood, you will be accused of making plans to murder him.” “Oh, what wisdom!” said Bassanio, laughing aloud ‘ls that the law?” asked Shylock furiously**Yes, certainly. You wanted justice and I am giving you justice, “said the young lawyer “Here, take the money and let Antonio go free.” offered Bassanio again. “No! He shouldn’t have refused it before. Take your flesh, Shylock. “said the lawyer “You know it’s impossible to take flesh and no blood. Give me the money instead!” said Shylock. “But you refused the money. You have dared to try to murder a citizen of the state If you had taken the flesh. you would have murdered Antonio. The laws of Venice say that a murderer must die. Now, ask to be forgiven,” said the lawyer “Well, Shylock,” said the Duke “We are not cruel people. Although you have tried to murder one of my citizens, I shall let you go free, but as fine, half of your property will be given to Antonio and half of your property will go to the state No don’t take my property” wailed Shylock in die it I have no property I cannot live in poverty.
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