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of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.” “None devoted, which shall be devoted of them, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death." (Leviticus, xxvii. 28, 29.) The substance of these is rehearsed in Deuteronomy, xxiii. 23. << That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform, even as a free-will offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth." m”. To show that Shylock was not singular in his construction of these as binding obligations, the reader may remember what is generally called Jephtha's rash vow. “And Jephtha vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, if thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, then shall it be that whatsoever cometh forth of the door of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for å burnt offering. So Jephtha passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands. * And Jephtha came to Mispeh unto his house, and behold his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels, and with dances, and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter, thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me; for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth.'. And after bewailing her virginity among the mountains, “She returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.” (Judges, xi. 30 to 39.) Here, again, the Christian reader must do Shakespeare the justice to remember that he is displaying the odious passion of revenge, in the person of a most enthusiastic Israelite, who would be influenced to devote the life of a stranger, who had deeply wronged him, by the same mistaken zeal which drove Jephtha to sacrifice his innocent and only child, because he had vowed so to devote her. These explanations are necessary, not only to the true developement of the character of Shylock, but that the reader may understand the motives by which he is influenced, and the verbal allusions by which his actions are accompanied.
Scene. A Court of Justice.
SALARINO, AND OTHERS.
* i * .* - * ...*
Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the Court.
Shylock. I have possess'd your Grace of what I purpose ; And by our holy sabbath have I sworn, To have the due--the forfeit of my bond: If you deny it, let the danger light Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.' You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that, But say,—it is my humour. Is it answer'd? What if my house be troubled with a rat, And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet? .. Some men there are, love not a gaping pig; ; . Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat;
Now, for your answer :
Bassanio. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
Shylock. I am not bound to please thee with my ANSWER.
The Duke has said, he expects a gentle ANSWER, therefore Shylock plays on the word answer.
Bassino. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Shylock. If every ducat in six thousand ducats..
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring none?
Shylock. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
Is dearly bought, 'tis mine, and I will have it: . i
Here Shylock, triumphantly in his turn, calls on the Duke to answer.
Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this Court,
Salarino.—My Lord, here stays without
Enter NERISSA, disguised as a lawyer's clerk.
This last speech is generally spoken with great malice.- It is a mistake so to pronounce it.
Gratiano.-Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shylock.-Till thou can’st rail the seal from off my bond,