A memorable day it was today. That Bassanio fellow approached me and claimed he was there to borrow money from me. Me, a Jew? Bassanio had to be desperate and I could read his face, so much tension and worry. In my head I figured it could not be a large sum as Bassanio was known for his extravagant spending habits, however, as he mentioned that the sum would be 3000 ducats but in Antonio’s name, my face seemed to light up. Antonio, that Christian scoundrel, the same man that spat on me. He humiliated me in public and he resents my religion. Antonio had called me a dog, a sinner and now he chooses to come to me in his time of need. I took advantage of this situation and placed Antonio at my mercy.
At first I simply mocked Bassanio and repeatedly stated the details of the bond: 3000 ducats for 3 months and the fawning publican Antonio bound, over and over again I stated it in a manner that grew more condescending each time. I thought out loud and put emphasis on the dangers that ships entail such as the treacherous winds and the pirates, after all it would not be the first time that a merchant’s ships and fortunes were lost to the all too brutal seas. As imagined, Bassanio did not take kindly to my words of fret.
As the bond had been discussed Antonio was summoned to confirm it. We were to settle a rate of interest. Christians, those self-righteous fools who refuse to charge interest on loans yet offer interest to those borrowed from, Antonio is this kind of typical Christian. I confronted his hypocritical ways to which his anger fuelled, it was quite humorous to watch him rile up in such a way.
I forced him to listen to the teachings of the Torah, I preached to him in a way that he could not ignore. Words from the religion he had spoken ill of. It is his turn to be pushed around and mocked; I would make sure of it. I would retaliate against his harsh words, brutal actions and his criticism of my values, I would make him pay.
I saw right through him, the weakness in his heart for his trusted friend, Bassanio, the desperation he feels to fulfil the needs of his friend, the presence of this predilection makes revenge so much easier for me. To make Antonio feel the pain he has induced upon me all these years would be the ultimate comeuppance.
Finally I announced the terms of the bond. If for some reason Antonio was not able to pay Shylock back with the full amount loaned, then I would be entitled to be paid back in kind, a pound of Antonio’s fair Christian flesh. The expression on Bassanio’s face dropped and he became hesitant. He told Antonio that he would rather live without his need than have Antonio pay this ‘outrageous’ price. This proved to boost Antonio’s self confidence making him seem arrogant and obnoxious, not that that was far from his general attitude. This attitude irritated me and to feign a nonchalant attitude I simply compared his human flesh to the worth of common meat, this I knew would enrage him further which turned out to be quite entertaining.
I have no guarantee that anything will happen to Antonio’s ships, yet the risk or peril is greater than the chance of safe return, if he pays me on time then that is where I will be compelled to leave it, however if there is a glitch with his income then I will carry out the bond’s terms and conditions. This
is bad blood between two religions, if I am not to carry out this task of cutting a pound of flesh from his body then I will understand that a greater force has not allowed me to do so.
Now, some may say I’m evil or that I am in fact a person without feelings, but how wrong they are. I am spit upon in public because of the religion I was born to. Did I have any part to play in this decision of nature? From being the victim I must prove myself to be worth more whether it be a hero or a villain. In a sense, I would be both, villain to the Christians and hero to the Jews from my sacred nation, Israel. For this ancient grudge my people have been enslaved and abused. This is where I take my stand.