For this production we rented several costumes for the ladies in the play, Portia, Nerissa and Jessica, to make them look elegant and noble. But we decided to make one stunning costume for Bassanio, the young merchant who woos Portia after borrowing money from his friend Antonio. Antonio in turn borrows money from the Jewish money-lender, Shylock, which constitutes the other plot line of the play.
Shylock: I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?--fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? 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? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. (3.1.52-63)
Portia: The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. (4.1.182-85)
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