Merchant of Venice

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Act 3 Scene 1

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  • Lancelot is ordered to call the house to tell them to prepare dinner.
  • That’s already been done, sir. They’re all ready to eat dinner.
  • Yes, look, it’s true that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. That’s why I’m worried about you. I’ve always been straightforward with you, so now I’m telling you what I think. Cheer up, because I think you’re going to hell. There’s only one hope for you, and even that’s a kind of illegitimate hope.
  • Come on, Nerissa, I have many things to do that you don’t even know about yet. We’ll see our husbands before they even have a chance to miss us.
  • Will they see us?
  • They will, Nerissa, but we’ll be disguised as men.
  • Any fool can make puns! I think the best sign of intelligence will soon be silence, and talking will only be a good thing for parrots to do. Go in and tell the servants to get ready for dinner.
  • Lorenzo reprimands the clown for talking back and never speaking straight.
  • That’s also been done, sir. The word you’re looking for is "cover"
  • You can hope your father isn’t your real father. Maybe your mother fooled around, and you aren’t the Jew’s daughter.
  • That were a kind of bastard hope indeed. So the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Yes, look, it’s true that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. That’s why I’m worried about you. I’ve always been straightforward with you, so now I’m telling you what I think. Cheer up, because I think you’re going to hell. There’s only one hope for you, and even that’s a kind of illegitimate hope.
  • Come on, Nerissa, I have many things to do that you don’t even know about yet. We’ll see our husbands before they even have a chance to miss us.
  • What hope is that, may I ask?
  • Will they see us?
  • They will, Nerissa, but we’ll be disguised as men.
  • Good Lord, what a clown you are! Tell them to make the dinner.
  • Lancelot leaves and Lorenzo asks Jessica what she thinks of Portia.
  • I like her more than I can say. Bassanio should live an upstanding life because having a wife like Portia is a blessing. It’s as if he found heaven here on earth. And if he doesn’t deserve this joy on earth, he’ll never deserve it in heaven.
  • You can hope your father isn’t your real father. Maybe your mother fooled around, and you aren’t the Jew’s daughter.
  • In that case I’m afraid you’re damned by both your father and your mother. When you avoid one trap, you fall into another. You’re in trouble either way.
  • That were a kind of bastard hope indeed. So the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Yes, look, it’s true that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. That’s why I’m worried about you. I’ve always been straightforward with you, so now I’m telling you what I think. Cheer up, because I think you’re going to hell. There’s only one hope for you, and even that’s a kind of illegitimate hope.
  • Come on, Nerissa, I have many things to do that you don’t even know about yet. We’ll see our husbands before they even have a chance to miss us.
  • How are you, Jessica? And how do you like Lord Bassanio’s wife?
  • What hope is that, may I ask?
  • Will they see us?
  • I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a Christian.
  • They will, Nerissa, but we’ll be disguised as men.
  • Lorenzo is a little taken aback by Jessica's warm words and teases that Jessica has in him a husband as worthy as Portia is a wife.
  • I’ll bet you anything that I’ll be handsomer than you when we’re both dressed up. I’ll wear my sword more gracefully, and speak like a teenage boy, and walk with a manly stride rather than my ladylike steps. I’ll talk about fights like a bragging youth, and I’ll tell cute lies about honorable ladies who fell in love with me and got sick and died when I rejected them. They just died, what could I do! Then I’ll start feeling sorry for them, wishing I hadn’t killed them. I’ll tell twenty lies like that, so men will think I graduated from school at least a year ago. I know a thousand immature tricks like that, and I’ll use them all.
  • Now, Balthazar, you’ve always been honest and faithful to me, and I trust you still are. Take this letter to Padua as fast as you can. Make sure you put it into the hands of my cousin Bellario, the Doctor of Laws.
  • You can hope your father isn’t your real father. Maybe your mother fooled around, and you aren’t the Jew’s daughter.
  • In that case I’m afraid you’re damned by both your father and your mother. When you avoid one trap, you fall into another. You’re in trouble either way.
  • That were a kind of bastard hope indeed. So the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Yes, look, it’s true that children are punished for the sins of their fathers. That’s why I’m worried about you. I’ve always been straightforward with you, so now I’m telling you what I think. Cheer up, because I think you’re going to hell. There’s only one hope for you, and even that’s a kind of illegitimate hope.
  • Come on, Nerissa, I have many things to do that you don’t even know about yet. We’ll see our husbands before they even have a chance to miss us.
  • As good a wife as she is, that’s how good a husband I am to you.
  • What hope is that, may I ask?
  • I’ll give you a chance to judge later. First let’s go to dinner.
  • Will they see us?
  • I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a Christian.
  • They will, Nerissa, but we’ll be disguised as men.
  • I’ll be the judge of that!
  • They have a crude back-and-forth about Jessica's willingness to praise Lorenzo before dinner, as she won't be able to stomach praising him after.
  • And as quickly as possible, take whatever letters and clothes he gives you to the public ferry that goes back and forth to Venice. Don’t waste time talking now. Just go. I’ll meet you at the ferry.
  • What kind of question is that! If I had a dirty mind, I’d think you meant turning to men for sex. Here, I’ll tell you my whole plan in my carriage, which is waiting for us at the gate. So hurry up, because we have twenty miles to cover today.
  • Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
  • Why, shall we turn to men?
  • No, let me say some good things about you while I’m in the mood.
  • No, please, save it for dinner conversation. That way, no matter what you say, I’ll digest it with everything else.
  • Exit Lancelot
  • Finally they exit together to go eat dinner.
  • Come on, Nerissa, I have many things to do that you don’t even know about yet. We’ll see our husbands before they even have a chance to miss us.
  • In that case I’ll serve you up like a dish of food.
  • Will they see us?
  • They will, Nerissa, but we’ll be disguised as men.
  • They exit.
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