The Merchant of Venice

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,


The Merchant of Venice

See more monologues from William Shakespeare


Age Range
Act 4 Scene 1
Time & Place
Venice, sixteenth-century
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Portia has traveled to the Venetian Court of Justice in disguise. She is a dressed

Monologue Text

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

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:

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That, in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice ACt 4, sc.1 ll. 181-202

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