, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio
and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies
, the play is perhaps most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for Shylock
and the famous 'Hath not a Jew eyes' speech. Also notable is Portia
's speech about the 'quality of mercy'.
The title character is the merchant Antonio
, not the Jewish moneylender
Shylock, who is the play's most prominent and most famous character.
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,Nor to one place.
Now, by two-headed Janus,Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time.
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
You have too much respect upon the world:They lose it that do buy it with much care.
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;A stage, where every man must play a part,And mine a sad one.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within,Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
There are a sort of men, whose visagesDo cream and mantle like a standing pond;And do a willful stillness entertain,With purpose to be dress'd in an opinionOf wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!
I do know of these,That therefore only are reputed wise,For saying nothing.
Fish not with this melancholy bait,For this fool-gudgeon, this opinion.