Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 8
From The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co.
Notice that in this scene the passionate outburst of Shylock on learning of Jessica's unfilial conduct is reported by the unsympathetic gallants, Salarino and Salanio, and not represented directly. Are we to believe Salanio's intimation that Shylock was more grieved at the loss of his ducats than that his daughter should
have married a hated Christian? And would a direct representation of Shylock in his despair have drawn too deep a draft on our
sympathies for the Jew? The gallants also mention the rumors that Antonio's ventures may have miscarried, and apprise us of his
loving, hearty leave-taking of Bassanio, now well on his happy way to Belmont.
10. certified, assured.
12. passion, commotion, passionate outcry. Compare Troilus
and Cressida, v. 2. 1 81: "Your passion draws ears hither."
25. keep his day, be punctual to his day of payment. Note how
the unfilial conduct of Jessica, with the loss of his money, is mentioned here as hardening the Jew's heart against Antonio. Notice
also the rumor of misfortune to Antonio's ships in the next speech.
27. reason'd, conversed with. See above, i. 2. 23.
30. fraught, freighted.
33. You were best to tell. No uncommon idiom for You had better or best tell. Compare 1 Henry VI. v. 3. 82: "I were best to leave him." This line is readily scanned by regarding You were best as
the first foot, either contracted to You're best; or, better, speedily
uttered as in ordinary speech:
39. Slubber, slur over.
40. riping, ripening.
42. mind of love, your loving mind; also explained, "Let me
entreat you, of love [i.e. by our mutual love], that you take not
the least thought of it."
52. embraced heaviness, the sadness which has taken hold of
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co., 1903. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2011. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/merchant_2_8.html >.