Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shylock's monologue

Mrs The Millbrooker and I watched The Merchant of Venice the other night; the version starring Al Pacino as a character defining Shylock. Simply wonderful. So good I thought I'd stick up the monologue here; the video of Pacino in full flow is at the bottom. The spacing of the lines of the speech is mine (Willy Shake did things a bit differently, but the wording and the punctuation is all his).

For anyone unfamiliar, Shylock has lent money to Antonio who cannot repay due to disasters with his ventures at sea. Antonio's bond is that Shylock may cut a pound of flesh from his body if he cannot pay. Immediately before this speech, Shylock has been asked what he would do with a pound of flesh - after all it's of no real value.

Shylock is in no mood to pander to the Christians of Venice who have wronged him and his people for so long, and to whom his daughter has just eloped.

"[To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else it will feed my revenge.]

He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses; mocked my gains; scorned my nation; thwarted my bargains; cooled my friends; heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew.

Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge.

If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.

The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."


Frankenkeith said...

Hi Joshua - I enjoyed that clip. It may have to be all I see of films this weekend because I am away (in two minutes) and have not had time to let you know. Helen seems to be out as well so I can't let her know either. I may be back Sunday but if my house is in darkness you may make as much noise next door as you like!

Judith said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! You're right about clicking on "next blog", it can sometimes lead to something interesting. Serendipity! (It's not often I get a chance to use that word.)