Read The Merchant of Venice‘s ‘Signior Antonio, Many A Time And Oft’ monologue below with a modern English translation and analysis:
Spoken by Shylock, Act 1, Scene 3
Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances:
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
‘Shylock, we would have moneys:’ you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold: moneys is your suit
What should I say to you? Should I not say
‘Hath a dog money? is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?’ Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman’s key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
‘Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn’d me such a day; another time
You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much moneys’?
‘Signior Antonio, Many A Time And Oft’ Monologue Translation
Signior Antonio. So many times on the Rialto, you have berated me about money and my money-lending. I’ve always responded with a patient shrug because enduring such things is the badge of all our race. You call me an unbeliever, a cut-throat dog, and spit on my Jewish gabardine. And all for using what belongs to me. Well then, it now seems that you need my help. Alright then: you come to me and you say, “Shylock, we want some money.”
That’s what you say. You, who spat on my beard and kicked me as you would kick a stray dog from your house. Now you want money. What am I supposed to say to you? Shouldn’t I say, “Has a dog got money? Could a mongrel possibly lend three thousand ducats?” Or shall I bend low and in the fawning tone of a servant, softly, in a small humble voice, say this: ‘Good sir, you spat on me last Wednesday; you kicked me on such and such a day: another time you called me ‘dog’. And for these courtesies I’ll lend you so much money?
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