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24 September 2014

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The 60 Second Standard
Give me my pound of flesh!

Unlucky trader Antonio nearly had his troubles ended for good yesterday after hard-hearted creditor Shylock demanded the right to carve a portion from his chest.

The Jewish moneylender had struck a deal with Antonio to lend him 3,000 ducats in return for the grisly promise of a "pound of flesh" if he didn't repay within three months. It seems he held a grudge against the generous merchant after being insulted by him before.

Antonio borrowed the sum to help old friend Bassanio, who needed the funds to woo sexy young heiress Portia.

Creepy creditor's courtroom plea
Shylock, in court
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart.
Shylock's (above) demand, Act 4, Sc 1

Expecting to pay back well before the deadline, Antonio then suffered a run of bad luck at sea that dashed his hopes.

Returning lucky in love, Bassanio came to his rescue and tried to pay off the debt. But even when he offered DOUBLE, the bloodthirsty banker rejected him.

A horrified court was forced to rule in Shylock's favour, and looked on as he wielded the knife at Antonio's breast.

But the terrified merchant was saved when whizzkid lawyer Balthasar took on his case. Pointing out

Who's who
A wealthy merchant, Antonio's known for his generosity and loyalty. But he does have a nasty streak - one that nearly cost him his life after he abused Shylock.
Spendthrift Bassanio had never been good with money so turned to Antonio when he needed a loan. A good bloke, popular with the ladies, he easily won Portia's heart.
This old Jewish moneylender knew how to look after the pence! A grudge holder, he vowed revenge on Antonio, but ended up with nothing. Even his daughter ran away from him.
Clever, beautiful and rich, heiress Portia seemed to have it all - except for a husband. Any bloke courting her had to pass a test set by her father. To her glee, Bassanio easily picked the prize.

that the bargain was for flesh, but no blood - he warned Shylock that if he so much as spilt a drop, he'd be banged up immediately.

Once the mean moneygrubber had been sent packing, there was one last surprise when Balthasar revealed himself to be none other than his new wife Portia in disguise.

That's one brief Bassanio can examine in detail back at home!


The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
Antonio, Act 1, sc 3
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?
Shylock, Act 4, Sc 1.

The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
Portia, Act 4, Sc 1

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