Act III - Scene III


Enter the Jew, and Solanio, and Antonio, and the Jailor.

Gaoler, look to him. tell not me of mercy;—
This is the fool that lent out money gratis;—
Gaoler, look to him.
Hear me yet, good Shylock.
I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond;(5)
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond;
Thou call'dst me dog, before thou hadst a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs:
The duke shall grant me justice.—I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond(10)
To come abroad with him at his request.
I pray thee, hear me speak.
I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak;
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,(15)
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond.

Exit Jew.

It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.(20)
Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know:
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures,
Many that have at times made moan to me;(25)
Therefore he hates me.
I am sure, the Duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
The Duke cannot deny the course of law,
For the commodity that strangers have(30)
With us in Venice; if it be denied,
'Twill much impeach the justice of the state;
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go
These griefs and losses have so 'bated me,(35)
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow, to my bloody creditor.
Well, gaoler, on:—Pray God, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!



  1. Antonio's only wish is that Bassanio sees him perform his act of martyrdom. Some scholars have read this desire as Antonio wanting to show Bassanio how much he loves him; it is one final act of love and confession.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Antonio claims that if the Duke pardons him and denies the law then the order that maintains the merchant business in Venice will collapse. Again, Antonio positions himself as a martyr and sacrifice for all of Venice.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Notice that Antonio focuses on his monetary mistreatment of Shylock instead of his inhumane abuse of Shylock. In this way, Antonio is able to paint himself as a martyr and a victim instead of a bully being punished for his crimes.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Notice that Solanio uses pronouns that dehumanize Shylock. He refers to him as "it" instead of as "he."

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Notice how Shylock's language has become repetitive and obsessive. After the loss of his daughter, his pride, and his livelihood, Shylock holds on to the only thing he has left: the bond he is legally tied to. This repetitive language demonstrates a descent into madness in which this marginalized character tries to use the law of the society that oppresses him against itself.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. During Shylock's famous speech in Act 3 Scene 1, he claimed that Jews were people despite the false and negative perceptions of Christians. However, here Shylock gives in to the perception of his identity: he claims the animalistic character that the Christians assigned to him.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. "Gratis" means free of charge. Remember that Antonio's money lending habits were originally Shylock's lesser complaint about Antonio. He was more concerned with Antonio's abuse of his people and faith. Notice that after Shylock's "conversion" in which he decided to live by Christian example, he focuses on money more than his faith.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff