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RedPowerLady's avatar

Would this Shakespeare quote work in reference to ruthless debt collection?

Asked by RedPowerLady (12566points) June 19th, 2009

“These griefs and losses have so bated me, that I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh to-morrow to my bloody creditor. Pray God, Bassanio come to see me pay his debt, and then I care not! ”

This quote comes from the play “Merchant of Venice”.

A friend of mine thought this quote might help me illustrate a point I am making about ruthless debt collection. I do understand the “pound of flesh” reference and the plot-line of the play. However, I have a bit of trouble understanding the old English. So, I thought I’d check in with others who more readily understand this type of writing.

Is this particular quote a good illustration of ruthless debt collection? Or of the pain one feels as a result of ruthless debt collection?

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4 Answers

brettvdb's avatar

Okay, so this is from the Merchant of Venice (as I’m sure you’re aware.)

In that time, only Jews were allowed to lend money out – people saw it as a sin because it was like “playing God.” Everyone hates the Jew and all his life he was pushed down, slandered, and belittled.

The merchant of venice had a ship that got lost at sea with all his goods and possessions – he lost everything. His only remaining option was to borrow money money in order to recover a new ship. As you seem to be aware, the deal is that if you borrow money and cannot repay it, then you must give a pound of your flesh instead (which essentially will kill you). He borrows money from the Jew, and gets a new vessel – this time something happens to it again (sorry I cant remember exactly what). He is left unable to repay the Jew, who is actually a really nice man but who, in shakespeare as well as in that time, is portrayed as evil. The man has no other options but to pay the Jew a pound of his flesh.

Enter the quote.

After a lifetime of belittlement, being outcast by society, being treated as evil, selfish, and dirty, the Jew finally gets his revenge. And, although he shows a sense of relief to finally get some retribution, there are stark tones of regret, sorrow, and sympathy.

Im no expert, but this is what I can remember from The Merchant of Venice.

scamp's avatar

Knowing the mentailty of most debt collectors I’ve dealt with, the response would be “huh”?? Then you can simply laugh and hang up! You would still get calls, but at least you’d get to laugh a little, so go for it!

fireside's avatar

What Antonio is basically saying is that he has lost a lot of weight due to his misfortunes and stress, so much weight that he doesn’t think he even has a pound of flesh to spare.

He is hoping that Bassanio will come by to give him the money he lent to Bassanio so that he doesn’t get cut by Shylock.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@fireside Thank you so much!

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