A pound of flesh – Shakespeare Speaks
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It was late in the evening. William Shakespeare is at the palace of King James I. Mr Shakespeare! Welcome, welcome. Your majesty, it is a great honour to perform The Merchant of Venice for you a second time. The Queen and I enjoyed it so much we just had to see it again. You fell asleep halfway through dear, that’s why you want to see it again. Nonsense. Mr Shakespeare, I particularly enjoyed your character Shylock. But what was all that about a pound of flesh? Well, Shylock lent some money to the businessman Antonio. And Antonio promised that if he didn’t pay the money back, Shylock could cut a pound of flesh from
his body. That’s right, that’s right. I remember it well now. What did he say? If you repay me not on such a day… If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me. We’ll leave them there for now. The district attorney will argue that although the defendant is mentally ill, he is not insane under the law, and society deserves its pound of flesh from him. I apologised and paid for the repairs after I crashed his car, but it isn’t enough for him. He wants his pound of flesh. I think he’s going to call the police… Mr Shakespeare, please tell the King what happens in the end, just in case he falls asleep again. I did not fall asleep! But yes, do tell me. Well, Antonio didn’t pay the money back. The court agreed that Shylock could have his pound of flesh, but the court also said that he could not take even a single drop of blood. Aha! So Antonio was saved. Yes, your majesty. Ooh, the play is starting. Now do stay awake this time, dear… To sleep or not to sleep: that is the question…

11 thoughts on “A pound of flesh – Shakespeare Speaks

  1. Congratulations!!
    Great for watching and for using it with students!
    How about putting subtitles on the video?

  2. "A pund of flesh". Intresting. In Russian we say "A pund of salt". At least I find this amusing

  3. BBC Learning English. are all of these phrases used by Shakespeare for the first time or it was there in English before Shakespeare. what i mean to ask in simplest form, are these idiom invented 😀 by Shakespeare or it was already in use before him and he used it too in his witting and you present it as an example only.

  4. In the Vincent Price film Theatre of Blood, Vincent Price's character gets revenge on the critics that ruined his career by killing them in accordance to Shakespearian murder scenes in the order that the plays were shown in a particular roster, as there was no murder in The Merchant of Venice, he rewrote the pound of flesh moment and cut out the heart of one of the critics and had it delivered to the Head Critic in a decoritve box.

  5. “Ohohohoo! Nay Antonio you foolish merchant, I only ask for a pound of fresh meat, perhaps some beef or mutton. See that it is the freshest meat you can find close to the animal’s heart, and that it is butchered with skill”.

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