Act II - Scene VIII


Enter Salerio and Solanio.

Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship, I am sure, Lorenzo is not.
The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the duke;
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.(5)
He came too late, the ship was under sail:
But there the duke was given to understand,
That in a gondola were seen together
Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica;
Besides, Antonio certified the duke,(10)
They were not with Bassanio in his ship.
I never heard a passion so confus'd,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:
My daughter!—O my ducats!—O my daughter!(15)
Fled with a Christian?—O my Christian ducats!—
Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!
A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stol'n from me by my daughter!
And jewels; two stones, two rich and precious stones,(20)
Stol'n by my daughter!—Justice! find the girl!
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats!
Why, all the boys in Venice follow him
Crying,—‘His stones, his daughter, and his ducats.’
Let good Antonio look he keep his day,(25)
Or he shall pay for this.
Marry, well remember'd:
I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday,
Who told me,—in the narrow seas that part
The French and English, there miscarried(30)
A vessel of our country, richly fraught:
I thought upon Antonio when he told me,
And wish'd in silence that it were not his.
You were best to tell Antonio what you hear;
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.(35)
A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
I saw Bassanio and Antonio part:
Bassanio told him, he would make some speed
Of his return; he answer'd—Do not so,
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio,(40)
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew's bond, which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry; and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship, and such fair ostents of love,(45)
As shall conveniently become you there:
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And, with affection wondrous sensible,
He wrung Bassanio's hand, and so they parted.(50)
I think he only loves the world for him.
I pray thee, let us go and find him out,
And quicken his embraced heaviness,
With some delight or other.
Do we so.(55)



  1. Notice that two major scenes which could demonstrate a depth of feeling and character development (Shylock mourning the loss of his daughter and Antonio saying goodbye to Bassanio) are not depicted on stage. Instead, both scenes are reduced to the shallow interpretations of lesser characters. This touches on one of the play's main themes that perspective shapes how we see characters and their identities. This scene develops this theme by asking the audience to question identities presented by unreliable perspectives.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Many scholars and performers have interpreted Antonio's dedication to Bassanio and sadness at his departure as coming from his homoerotic love for Bassanio. They use this love to explain the extreme lengths to which Antonio will go for Bassanio and the first line of play ("In sooth I know not why I am so sad"). If Antonio is in love with Bassanio, then this love is both the source of his selfless devotion and his sadness.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Solanio and Salerio's narration of this scene seems to miss the homoerotic undertones of Antonio's love for Bassanio. They view this parting as a sign of loving friendship rather than a sign of Antonio's devotion to Bassanio. Their inability to see past the shallow interpretation of this interaction demonstrates that they don't know what they are seeing, and thus provide an interpretation of events that the audience should not readily accept.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. By this Solanio means Antonio must be able to pay off his debt to Shylock by its due date or Shylock will exact his revenge by brutally collecting his debt. This worry foreshadows the end of the play and offers a reason for Shylock's behavior later in the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Notice that we do not watch Shylock say this, we hear it second hand from Solanio. In Solanio's retelling, Shylock confuses his ducats with his daughter; he seems more upset about his money than the loss of his daughter. However, we should question this account as it comes form someone who hates Shylock. This highlights the theme of perspective within this play: one's identity is based on the way someone is presented to the audience instead of the actual content of their character.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff