Merchant of Venice Modern Act 1 Scene 1

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ANTONIO
I honestly don’t know why I’m so sad . I’m tired of it, and so are you. But I have no idea why I have gotten so depressed and I can’t figure out what is even making me feel this way. I must not understand myself very well. SALARINO

You’re worried about your ships. Your mind is getting tossed around in the ocean with them, but they’re fine. They’re like huge parade floats on the sea. They’re so big they look down on the smaller ships, which all have to bow and then get out of the way. Your ships fly like birds past those tiny little boats. SOLANIO

Yes, believe me, if I had risky business ventures in other countries, I’d be sad too, worrying about it every second. I’d constantly be tossing blades of grass into the air to find out which way the wind was blowing. I’d be peering over maps to figure out the best ports, piers, and waterways. Everything that made me worry about my ships would make me sad. SALARINO

I’d get scared every time I blew on my soup to cool it, thinking of how a strong wind could wipe out my ships. Every time I’d look at the sand in an hourglass, I’d imagine my ships wrecked on sandbars. I’d think of dangerous rocks every time I went to church and saw the stones it was made of. If my ship brushed up against rocks like that, its whole cargo of spices would be dumped into the sea. All of its silk shipments would be sent flying into the roaring waters. In a second, I’d go bankrupt. Who wouldn’t get sad thinking about things like that? It’s obvious. Antonio is sad because he’s so worried about his cargo.

ANTONIO
No, trust me that’s not it. Thankfully my financial situation is well. I don’t have all of my money invested in one ship, or one part of the world. If I don’t do good this year, I’ll still be okay. So it’s not my business that’s making me sad. SOLANIO

Well then, you must be in love.
ANTONIO
Oh, give me a break.
SOLANIO
You’re not in love either? Fine, let’s just say you’re sad because you’re not in a good mood. You know, it’d be just as easy for you to laugh and dance around and say you’re in a good mood. You could just say you’re not sad. Humans are so different.Some people will laugh at anything, and others are so grouchy and bitter, they won’t even smile at something hysterically funny. BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO enter.

Here comes your cousin, Bassanio. And Gratiano and Lorenzo too. Goodbye then, we’ll leave you to talk to them. They’re better company anyway. SALARINO
I would’ve stayed to cheer you up, if your nobler friends hadn’t shown up. ANTONIO
You’re both very important to me, but I understand. You need to leave and take care of your own business. SALARINO
(to BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO) Good morning, gentlemen. BASSANIO
(to SALARINO and SOLANIO) Hello, friends. When are we going to have fun together again? Just name the time. We never see you anymore. Does it have to be that way? SALARINO
Let us know when you want to get together, we’re available. SALARINO and SOLANIO exit.

LORENZO
Since you’ve found Antonio, we’ll say goodbye for now Bassanio. But don’t forget, we’re having dinner tonight. BASSANIO
I’ll be there, don’t worry.
GRATIANO
You don’t look so great, Antonio. You’re taking things too seriously. People with too much invested in the world always get hurt. I’m telling you, you don’t look like yourself. ANTONIO
For me the world is just the world, Gratiano, a stage where every person has a part to play, mine just happenes to be the sad one. GRATIANO
Then I’ll play the happy fool and get laugh lines on my face. I’d rather overload my liver with wine than starve my heart by denying myself fun. Why should any living man sit still like a statue? Why should he sleep when he’s awake? Why should he get ulcers from being crabby all the time? I love you, and I’m saying this because I care, Antonio, there are men who always look serious. Their faces never move or show any expression, like stagnant ponds covered with scum. They’re silent and stern,...
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