A scene for 2 characters from the play "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Characters: Launcelot?Old Gobbo???
  • Scene type / Who are: Father/Son
  • Type: Comic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Description: Launcelot plays a prank on his blind father when he doesn't recognize him
  • Location: ACT II, Scene 2

Summary

Bassanio, a gentleman from Venice, asks his kinsman and friend Antonio, a Venitian merchant, for a loan so that he can court Portia, a woman from Belmont he has fallen in love with. Having all his money locked in investments, Antonio suggests to visit Shylock, a Jewish moneylender he is not in best terms with. Antonio hates Jews and always criticizes them for their usury. As a revenge, Shylock agrees to lend Bassanio some money with the condition that if he fails to pay him back then he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio's flesh. In the meanwhile Portia has to deal with several suitors she is not interested in. ...

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Excerpt

[Venice. A street]

[Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket]

GOBBO
Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way
to master Jew's?

LAUNCELOT
[Aside] O heavens, this is my true-begotten father!
who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,
knows me not: I will try confusions with him.

GOBBO
Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way
to master Jew's?

LAUNCELOT
Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but,
at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at
the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn
down indirectly to the Jew's house.

GOBBO
By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can
you tell me whether one Launcelot,
that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?

LAUNCELOT
Talk you of young Master Launcelot?

[Aside]

Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you
of young Master Launcelot?

GOBBO
No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father,
though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man
and, God be thanked, well to live.

LAUNCELOT
Well, let his father be what a' will, we talk of
young Master Launcelot.

GOBBO
Your worship's friend and Launcelot, sir.

LAUNCELOT
But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you,
talk you of young Master Launcelot?

GOBBO
Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.

LAUNCELOT
Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master
Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman,
according to Fates and Destinies and such odd
sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of
learning, is indeed deceased, or, as you would say
in plain terms, gone to heaven.

GOBBO
Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my
age, my very prop.

LAUNCELOT
Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or
a prop? Do you know me, father?

GOBBO
Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman:
but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his
soul, alive or dead?

LAUNCELOT
Do you not know me, father?

GOBBO
Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.

LAUNCELOT
Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but at the length truth will out.

GOBBO
Pray you, sir, stand up: I am sure you are not
Launcelot, my boy.

LAUNCELOT
Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but
give me your blessing: I am Launcelot, your boy
that was, your son that is, your child that shall
be.

GOBBO
I cannot think you are my son.

LAUNCELOT
I know not what I shall think of that: but I am
Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure Margery your
wife is my mother.

GOBBO
Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou
be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood.
Lord worshipped might he be! what a beard hast thou
got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than
Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.

LAUNCELOT
It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail grows
backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail
than I have of my face when I last saw him.

GOBBO
Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and thy
master agree? I have brought him a present. How
'gree you now?

LAUNCELOT
Well, well: but, for mine own part, as I have set
up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I
have run some ground. My master's a very Jew: give
him a present! give him a halter: I am famished in
his service; you may tell every finger I have with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come: give me
your present to one Master Bassanio, who, indeed,
gives rare new liveries: if I serve not him, I
will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I
am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.



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