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Contents > Author > William Shakespeare > I am a Jew (from "The Merchant of Venice") 1564- 1616
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William Shakespeare
I am a Jew (from "The Merchant of Venice")
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... But tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any loss
at sea or no?

There I have another bad match! A bankrout, a prodigal, who
dare scarce show his head on the Rialto, a beggar that was used
to come so smug upon the mart! Let him look to his bond. He was
wont to call me usurer. Let him look to his bond. He was wont to
lend money for a Christian cursy. Let him look to his bond.

Why, I am sure, if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh. What's that
good for?

To bait fish withal. If it feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my
losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains,
cooled my friends, heated mine enemies--and what's his reason?
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions?--fed with the same food,
hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by
the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer,
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we
not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we
not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge! If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why,
revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard
but I will better the instruction.

(from "The Merchant of Venice," Act 3, Scene 1, lines 39-69)

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