Merchant of Venice Key Quotes and Explanations

‘I hate him for he is a Christian’ Shylock- the alliteration of the ‘h’ emphasises that he is whispering. This is a very obvious way of making Shylock look bad and discrimination. (1.3)
‘You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine’ Shylock- the sharp ‘t’ sound emphasises Shylock’s anger with Christians. Words life ‘you’, ‘me’, and ‘my’ emphasises the personal conflict Shylock and Antonio have. The list builds up the abuse given to Shylock. (1.3)
‘let the forfeitBe nominated for an equal poundOf your fair flesh, to be cut off and takenIn what part of your body pleaseth me.’ Shylock- the detail in the bond shown with ‘equal pound’ shows the calculating nature of Shylock. the repetition of ‘f’ (with ‘off’ and ‘fair flesh’) emphasises the illusion of a soft caring remark. This is in contrast with the sharp ‘t’ alliteration. This contrast shows the appearance versus reality theme. (1.3)
‘There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,For I did dream of money-bags to-night’ Shylock- the ‘money-bags’ show Shylock’s obsession with money and lack of care with his daughter linking to the theme of father and daughter relationships. (2.5)
‘I never heard a passion so confused,So strange, outrageous, and so variable,As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:’My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!’ Shylock-‘the dog Jew’ describes him as animalistic showing the Christians’ discrimination towards him. The use of exclamation marks emphasises Solanio’s mocking Shylock and the discrimination of him. The lists make emphasise how hysterical Solanio wants Shylock to be seen. (2.8)
‘If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?’ Shylock- the contrast between ‘bleed’ and ‘laugh’ emphasises that the whole of Shylock is the human. The rhetirical questions he lists emphasise that the answers to these questions are obvious. (3.1)
‘The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’ Shylock- This quote could show when Shylock decides on his revenge. the word ‘execute’ often refers to carrying out a death sentence which could show Shylock believes he is justified. the repeated ‘t’ and ‘b’ emphasize the anger of Shylock. (3.1)
‘I would my daughterwere dead at my foot’ Shylock- This quote emphasises the villain in Shylock as a uncaring father. the use of the harsh ‘d’ sounds emphasises the anger Shylock has. the words ‘my daughter’ shows the possessive nature shylock has and how he can’t say her name. (3.1)
‘I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond:I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond’ Shylock- the repeated ‘my bond’ emphasises his obsession over it and he is desperate the bond his own. the strong words or ‘will’ and ‘sworn’ show his determination to keep his bond. (3.3)
‘A stony adversary, an inhuman wretchuncapable of pity, void and emptyFrom any dram of mercy.’ Shylock- the word ‘mercy’ is a common theme throughout the play. The word inhuman is also a synonym of common adjectives used towards Shylock take the case of ‘dog’, ‘creature’. The fact this is said by the Duke, shows the lack of power Shylock has compared to the Christians.(4.1)
‘The pound of flesh which I demand of himIs dearly bought. ‘Tis mine, and I will have it’ Shylock- the command words ‘will’ and ‘demand’ emphasise how desperate Shylock is for this flesh. The word ‘mine’ and repetition of ‘I’ show how this is very personal to Shylock and he is isolated in the matter. The words ‘bought’ and ‘pound’ show his calculating and manipulating side.(4.1)
‘In Belmont is a lady richly left;And she is fair, and fairer than that word,Of wondrous virtues.’ Portia- This is the first mention we hear about Portia in the play and it shows how she is known and defined by her money and appearance. And how other characteristics are unimportant especially to Bassanio.(1.1)
‘the will of a living daughter curbedby the will of a dead father’ Portia- This quotes emphasises how trapped Portia is not just by her father, but by her recently deceased father. There is also a pun on the word ‘pun’, this would be funny in Shakespeare’s time. Its not now.(1.2)
‘A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.Let all of his complexion choose me so’ Portia- This shows Portia’s racist nature towards the Prince of Morocco and her more bigoted attitude. this also links in with the appearance verses reality theme throughout the play. With company Portia is shown as content and calm, but without she is portrayed as judgmental and cruel. (2.7)
‘Thus hath the candle singed the moth.O, these deliberate fools!’ Portia- This shows Portia’s biggoted and wretched attitude towards the men who are trying to court her, she compares the boxes to candles and the men as moth, this emphasises how dangerous the challenge is and how stupid the men are.(2.9)
‘One half of me is yours, the other half is yours,Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,And so all yours.’ Portia- Portia is giving all of herself to Bassanio, the repetition of ‘me’ mine’ ‘you’ ‘yours’, shows how intimate this moment is to Portia, as she repeats that all is Bassanios. (3.2)
‘The quality of mercy is not strained.It droppeth as the gentle rain from heavenUpon the place beneath.’ Portia- Portia’s trying to convince Shylock that mercy can never be limited. later this shows how she is a hypocrite because she doesn’t give Shylock and mercy. the words ‘from heaven’ emphasises Portia’s strong Christian beliefs and her intelligence as she uses these beliefs against Shylock. The short certain sentences she uses emphasise her boldness. (4.1)
‘So shines a good deed in a naughty world’ Portia- This quote shows how proud Portia is about the court case. it also shows how Portia es now more pessimistic about the world. the word ‘naughty’ sounds quite childish as if Portia sees the situation as ridiculous. (5.1)
‘To you, Antonio,I owe the most, in money and in love’ Bassanio- In this quote Bassanio addresses Antonio by name, this gives the idea that Bassanio is only thinking about Antonio and no one else in this moment making it very intimate. Ending the sentence with ‘love’ makes the word notably powerful because this is the word the audience remembers. (1.1)
‘Here in her hairsThe painter plays the spider and hath wovenA golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men’ Bassanio- the word ‘entrap’ portrays Portia as vicious as if manipulating men or holding them hostage. this word also has strong sharp sounds reinforcing this vicious imagery. (3.2)
‘But when this ringParts from this finger, then parts life from hence’ Bassanio- in this quote the repeated words such as ‘this’, ‘from’ and ‘parts’ reassures the Portia of Bassanio’s sincerity later being proved false. (3.2)
‘The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,The best-condition’d and unwearied spirit’ Bassanio- primarily describing Antonio as a ‘friend’ highlights the close relationship between the two. The word ‘unwearied’ refers back to the beginning of the book where Antonio wonders why he’s sad(3.2)
‘Antonio, I am married to a wifeWhich is as dear to me as life itself;But life itself, my wife, and all the world,Are not with me esteem’d above thy life’ Bassanio- (4.1)
‘My purse, my person, my extremest means,Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.’ Antonio- (1.1)
‘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;…’ Antonio- (1.1)
‘The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose’ Antonio- (1.3)
‘I am as like to call thee so again,To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.’ Antonio- (1.3)
‘I think he only loves the world for him.’ Antonio- (2.8)
‘Pray God, Bassanio comeTo see me pay his debt, and then I care not!’ Antonio- (3.3)
‘I do opposeMy patience to his fury, and am arm’dTo suffer, with a quietness of spirit,The very tyranny and rage of his.’ Antonio- (4.1)
‘I am a tainted wether of the flock,Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruitDrops earliest to the ground;’ Antonio- (4.1)
‘Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice.’ Gratiano- (1.1)
‘Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice’ Gratiano- (2.2)
‘All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d.’ Gratiano- (2.6)
‘while I live I’ll fear no other thingSo sore as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring.’ Gratiano- (5.1)
‘Mislike me not for my complexion,The shadowed livery of the burnished sun’ Prince of Morocco- (2.1)
‘All that glitters is not gold;Often have you heard that told’ Prince of Morocco- (2.7)
‘Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.’ Jessica- (2.3)
‘I shall end this strife,Become a Christian and thy loving wife’ Jessica- (2.3)