Act II - Scene V


Enter [Shylock, ] Jew, his man that was the Clown [Launcelot].

Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—
What, Jessica!—thou shalt not gormandise,
As thou hast done with me;—What, Jessica!—
And sleep, and snore, and rend apparel out;—(5)
Why, Jessica, I say!
Why, Jessica!
Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.
Your worship was wont to tell me, I could do
nothing without bidding.(10)

Enter Jessica.

Call you? What is your will?
I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:
There are my keys.—But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon(15)
The prodigal Christian.—Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house.—I am right loath to go;
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money-bags to-night.
I beseech you, sir, go; my young master doth(20)
expect your reproach.
So do I, his.
And they have conspired together,—I will not
say, you shall see a masque; but if you do, then it was
not for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on Black-(25)
Monday last, at six o'clock i' the morning, falling out
that year on Ash-Wednesday was four year in the
What! are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum,(30)
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street,
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish'd faces:
But stop my house's ears, I mean my casements;(35)
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter
My sober house.—By Jacob's staff I swear,
I have no mind of feasting forth to-night:
But I will go.—Go you before me, sirrah;
Say, I will come.(40)
I will go before, sir.—
Mistress, look out at window for all this;
There will come a Christian by,
Will be worth a Jewess' eye.
What says that fool of Hagar's offspring; ha?(45)
His words were, Farewell mistress; nothing else.
The patch is kind enough; but a huge feeder,
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild cat: drones hive not with me,
Therefore I part with him; and part with him(50)
To one, that I would have him help to waste
His borrow'd purse.—Well, Jessica, go in;
Perhaps, I will return immediately;
Do as I bid you, shut doors after you:
Fast bind, fast find;(55)
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.


Farewell; and if my fortune be not cross'd,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost.



  1. This is a proverb that means when something is put away properly it is then easy to find it. Notice that like Portia, Jessica is treated like her father's property. However, unlike Portia, Jessica does not obey the will of her father.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Drones are male bees within a hive that do no work for the hive. Shylock refers to Launcelot with this series of metaphors to show that Launcelot was lazy and easily replaceable. What Shylock does not seem to realize is that he is losing Jessica as he is losing Launcelot.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. In converting to Christianity, Jessica will gain a Christian father, or God, and Shylock will lose a Jewish daughter, or Jessica.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Hagar was a concubine who gave Abraham a son named Ishmael. Hagar and Ishmael were expelled from Abraham's house when Sarah, Abraham's wife gave birth to a son of their own. This is an insult that means foolish non-Jew, or indicates someone who has been expelled from Judaism, ie. Christians.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. This is an invented Jewish oath. Jacob is a Biblical character and the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. He left home carrying only a staff and made a covenant with God on his travels. This oath is more indication that this play is a Christian imagining of a Jewish character.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. On Easter Monday in 1360, a sudden hail storm opened up on a battalion of English soldiers and killed over 1,000 men. The losses were so bad that English troops lost more soldiers on this day than any previous battle in the Hundred Year's War. The event is referred to as Black Monday.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. Dreaming of money was thought to be a sign that something bad was going to happen. It was a symbol of misfortune. Shylock sees his dream as a sign that he will lose his livelihood, but the audience could read an obsession with money into his words.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Again Shylock is associated with cannibalism. By this line, Shylock means that he will go to Bassanio's house out of hate and eat the food that he has wasted so much money on. But this line also implies the slanderous "blood-libel" that was referenced at the beginning of the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Here we see that Launcelot's real dispute with Shylock may have come from his unwillingness to take orders from a Jew, someone he feels is inherently inferior to him. Launcelot embodies the sentiments of the higher characters and makes them ridiculous.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Notice that Shylock makes the exact opposite claim to Launcelot's complaint. Remember that Launcelot told his father that Shylock starved him so much that he could count his ribs. Here, Shylock suggests that he allowed Launcelot to overeat while under his care.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff