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The Merchant of Venice Wealth Quotes

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

Quote #7

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend? (1.3.142-144)

Antonio is willing to borrow money from Shylock but insists that charging interest is wrong. (This is why he goes out of his way to put Shylock out of business by lending money "gratis.") What's interesting about this passage is the way Antonio talks about money as though it were capable of "breed[ing]"—as if it were a living being. What's up with that?

Quote #8

Antonio is a good man.
Have you heard any imputation to the
Ho, no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he
is a good man is to have you understand me that he
is sufficient. (1.3.12-17)

Shylock reveals his own prejudices about money here. When he talks about people's "goodness," he's not evaluating morality or character, just whether they're good for their borrowed money

Quote #9

What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond.
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over: (3.2.311-314, 318-320)

When Portia hears that Shylock is trying to collect a pound of flesh from her new man's BFF, she offers to pay off "the petty debt twenty times over." We notice a couple of things here. First, Portia is very wealthy. Second, she's incredibly generous and values human relationships more than wealth (as opposed to, say, Shylock, who goes around complaining that his servant eats too much).  

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