Shylock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

Throwback Thursday – Two years ago today I penned this yarn of food temperature, Shakespeare parody and litigation……


They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Well if that’s the case, it’s a shame I didn’t have revenge for tea, as being cold didn’t do anything for the lasagne I’ve just consumed.

My spouses home made lasagne is normally fantastic, but for some reason this evening it had the warmth of her mother. It was so tepid, when she asked if I’d like parmesan cheese on the meal, I wanted to respond “No, but have we any car windscreen de-icer?”

I didn’t though as I’m exaggerating the tepidity of the culinary fruits of my spouses labour. Not that she’ll read my tongue in cheek comments about my critique of tonight’s tea. She stopped reading my blogs as soon as she realised I was lying about rewarding loyal readers with Nectar points.

Incidentally, I hadn’t intended writing anything about food and its appropriate calefaction. The topic of this blog is revenge, with an emphasis on how it’s portrayed in a Shakespearian play.

When Jewish moneylender Shylock drew up a loan contract with Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, he enclosed the caveat of his recompense of a pound of flesh nearest the Christian’s heart should he default on the loan.

Antonio wasn’t best pleased, but was forced to reluctantly sign the contract after baulking at the interest rates of a payday loan from

It was a risky strategy by Shylocks rival, who had incurred the moneylenders wrath after insulting, assaulting and spitting on him in the Rialto (the Venetian Stock Exchange).

However, the bankrupt Antonio took this risk as he was a maverick, convinced his up and coming compensation for being mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) would comfortably cover his debt to the Jew.


It was a spiteful inclusion in the contract by Shylock, one that would gain him nothing of financial value. His preferred reward for non-payment the knowledge that removal of flesh would take the life of his chief antagonist.

This ill-feeling was fuelled further after the Christian stole the moneylender’s beloved half meerkat/half soprano soft toy. A cuddly incentive he got for taking out gondola insurance with

To further incur the wrath of Shylock, his daughter Jessica converts to Christianity; while Portia (the heroine apprentice lawyer) converts to an offset mortgage account and North Sea Gas.

Shylock’s anger of his daughter was exacerbated by finding out the reason for her conversion was she’d fallen in love with Lorenzo (Antonio’s friend).

When Antonio defaults on the loan, his defence counsel Portia saves his life by unearthing a legal loophole in the contract drawn up with Shylock. While Antonio finds a buttonhole in his breaches.

In an act aimed at conciliation, Antonio returns the half meerkat/half soprano soft toy to Shylock. In a reciprocal act of good faith Shylock responds by telling him “I’ll get thee next time yew lucky bleeder!” in his broad Yorkshire dialect.

The play ends with Portia’s high spirits at her court victory quickly diminishing; the result of uncovering a hidden clause in her new offset mortgage product. This stipulated that she must provide a pound of her flesh should she overdraw on the account without permission.

The play concludes with them all living happily ever after…… Apart from Portia who entered her overdraft, resulting in having to spend her remaining days hiding in a Clapham bedsit.

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