In The Merchant Of Venice, What Does Shylock Mean When He Says, "If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed"?


5 Answers

nesha gee Profile
nesha gee answered
When he says this he is trying to explain to Antonio that being a jew is no different from being a christan. Hes saying that they live and die the same. " if you prick us, DO we not bleed" basically means hes asking a rhetorical question ( meaning he doesn't wont it to be answered) saying all the sacrifices in the world should not discriminate the differences of religion because in the end they both react the same. If you prick a christan they bleed just as well as a jew.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Shylock's in theseluines makes use of a ironic speech.he gives this long speech just to tell and clear out that there is no differrence between a jew and a christian.they are both of same feelings and body.he also say this speech to gain symoathy from the audience and to consider himself as a victim
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
This is part of a famous speech in Act III, where Shylock vows revenge on the Christian merchant, Antonio, who has repeatedly insulted his Judaism and his race. His hatred is increased because his daughter has just eloped with another Christian. The speech begins "Hath not a Jew eyes?" and through a series of rhetorical questions points out the similarity between all humans, who are "fed with the same food, hurt by the same weapons." The speech builds to a climax with "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?"
Tradition, and the anti-Semitic feelings which were commonly expressed at the time, dictated that Shylock should be the villain of the play, and in terms of the plot, he is; but through this and other passages Shakespeare gives him a tragic depth and stature that makes him, for most audiences, the central character, and one that many actors want to play.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Throughout the play, Portia has been made aware of the hatred Shylock the Jewish usurer holds for Antonio, The Merchant of Venice. So much so, that Shylock has refused to accept far more than the 3000 ducats initially borrowed from him, all he wants is the pound of flesh Antonio so bequeathed in signing the bond.

"The Quality of Mercy", speech, therefore enables Portia to make Shylock see his error in refusing to accept the money offered, but Shylock has his heart set, "I'll have my bond, I will not hear thee speak, I'll have my bond. 

robert williams Profile
robert williams answered

This famous speech, embodies all the fears, worries, concerns and troubles that all of us express, at one time or another, about other people!

Shylock is measuring himself against another human being, which is precisely what he is! "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" Of course we, or you, do! "If you poison us, do we not die?"  Well, yes!

Shylock's speech is a reaction to Antonio, (the Merchant of Venice), and his belligerent attitude towards the Jewish people.

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