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The Merchant of Venice Isolation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton Shakespeare edition.

Quote #7

I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.
There is more difference between thy flesh and hers than
between jet and ivory; more between your bloods than there is
between red wine and Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear whether
Antonio have had any loss at sea or no? (3.1.4)

Even after Jessica's betrayal, Shylock still insists the girl is his flesh and blood. Salerio, in one savage swoop, challenges this notion by saying she's actually nothing like him at all. The proof of this is, implicitly, that Jessica chose to desert him. If Shylock held onto her as something close to him (which he obviously did, calling her his flesh and blood), then Salerio has brought home the realization that Shylock really is all alone in the world—even his flesh and blood has deserted him. Without recourse to get her back, it makes sense that he might seek the flesh and blood of another.

Quote #8

But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel (3.2.5)

When the newly married Jessica and Lorenzo show up at Portia's pad in Belmont, Graziano refers to Jessica as an "infidel," insisting that she is different from the Christians... even though she has recently converted.

Quote #9

Nerissa [indicating Jessica]. Cheer yon stranger.  Bid her welcome (3.2.6)

When Graziano tells Nerissa to "welcome" Jessica to Belmont, we get a sense of Jessica's physical isolation onstage. The word "yon" indicates that she's standing apart from the other characters, and the fact that she needs "cheer[ing]" implies that she's sad or uncomfortable. This suggests that Jessica may not be (or feel) very welcome in Belmont, despite her recent conversion to Christianity.

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