Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters Salarino, Salanio

Salarino and Salanio are found talking to each other. Salarino tells Salanio that Gratiano was present on Bassanio’s ship, but Lorenzo and Jessica were not there in the ship. Salarino tells Salanio that Lorenzo and Jessica went out in a pleasure boat. Salanio tells Salarino that when Shylock came to know about Jessica’s elopement with Lorenzo, he went mad with rage. He shouted, “My daughter! O my Christian ducats!”

Salarino tells Salanio that the street boys considered Shylock mad and threw stones at him. Salanio says that it will cost very dear to Antonio if he is unable to return his money on the appointed day. Salarino says that he has come to know from some Frenchman that Antonio has lost one of his rich merchant ships. Salarino asks Salanio to inform Antonio about this but he should convey this in such a manner that Antonio does not get a shock. Salanio says that Antonio is a very noble soul. Salarino then explains how Antonio took leave of Bassanio. It was a touching scene. Salarino and Salanio go to meet Antonio in order to cheer him up.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Critical Commentary

The scene shifts to Venice again and we come to know about Shylock anger over the elopement of his daughter Jessica with Lorenzo and the loss of his gold coins and jewels. It appears that the loss of gold coins has troubled him more than the elopement of his daughter. It is in this scene that we come to know that Antonio has lost one of his rich merchant ships on the sea. Antonio had hoped that he would be able to pay back Shylock’s loan on the safe arrival of this ship. Though not much is mentioned about it, it suggests possibilities of more losses in the future.

On the other hand, Shylock is mad with rage. It appears that he will take revenge upon Antonio at the first opportunity. The scene is significant because it furthers the action of the play. It also throws more light on the character of Antonio. We come to know about the affectionate nature of Antonio and his friendly love for Bassanio. It appears that Antonio may have to face the trial in the court.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It prepares us for the coming events.
  2. Rumours about Antonio’s losses are quite suggestive.
  3. We also realize Antonio’s great affection for Bassanio.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 Glossary

Lines 1-25
outcries : cries of protest
gondola : a long boat in Venice
amorous : loving
certified : assured
outrageous : shocking
stones upon her : stones (gems) with her day

Lines 26-50 : fixed day
reason’d : discussed
narrow seas : the English Channel
fraught : loaded
slubber : spoil
ostents : displays
wrung : shook
quicken : cheer up

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Portia, the Prince of Morocco

In this scene, the Prince of Morocco makes an effort to choose the right casket to win the hand of Portia in marriage. He examines the inscriptions on each of the casket and tries to interpret them before choosing one of them.

The inscription on the leaden casket says, “Whoever chooseth me shall give and hazard all he hath”. The Prince thinks that no sensible person will choose such a casket. He, then, reads the inscription on the silver casket. It says, “Whoever chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves”.

The Prince thinks that he deserves Portia more than any other suitor because of his high rank, noble birth, and his great wealth and power. But, then, he argues that silver is ten times inferior to gold and therefore the silver casket cannot contain the portrait of Portia. He, then, examines the golden casket which says, “Who chooseth me shall get what many men desire”.

The Prince believes that the whole world desires to possess Portia. So he thinks that the golden casket contains the portrait of Portia. The Prince, therefore, chooses the golden casket, but when he opens it, he finds an empty human skull holding a roll of paper in which it is written that he who is guided by the glitter of the things is generally deceived.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Critical Commentary

In this scene, we are brought back to the main plot of the story. Jessica’s elopement with Lorenzo is over. Now we are made to see how things are happening in Portia’s house in Belmont. The Prince of Morocco approaches the three caskets of lead, silver and gold and tries to make the right choice. He, like other suitors, soliloquises in front of each casket before choosing one of them. He is conscious of his high rank, noble birth, his great wealth and power and, he therefore chooses the golden casket.

He is attracted by the glitter of the golden casket. But when he opens it, he is disappointed because he finds in it a human skull holding a roll of paper in which it is written that he who is guided by the glitter of things is generally deceived. It is clear that he over-estimated himself. He does not realize that it is the duty of the true lover to ‘give and hazard’. So he chooses the golden casket instead of the ‘leaden casket’ because he is fascinated by the outward glitter of the gold.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It moves further the casket story.
  2. We learn about the Prince of Morocco and his failure.
  3. The scene highlights the importance of the lottery of casket which is, in fact, the test of character.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Glossary

Lines 1-25
discover : reveal
blunt : plain
hazard : risk
withal : with that
survey : read
dross : worthless things
virgin hue : white colour
even : impartial

Lines 26-55
deserving : merit
graved : engraved
shrine : temple
mortal-breathing : human
rib : enclose
cerecloth : a type of shroud

Lines 56-80
insculp’d : stamped
carrion death : hateable skull
scroll : roll of paper
enfold : enclose
suit : pursuit
cold : failed
heat : heat of excitement
frost : cold disappointment
part : depart
riddance : relief

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Gratiano, Salarino, Lorenzo, Jessica.

Wearing masks, Gratiano and Salarino wait in a street for Lorenzo who is late. They feel that it is strange on the part of Lorenzo to be late as all lovers reach before time to honour their commitments to their beloveds.

Gratiano remarks that one does not have much appetite after having one’s meal as a horse does not have as much energy after the journey as he has before. Similarly a ship loses its magnificence after it has completed its voyage. Gratiano gives these illustrations to prove that the eagerness of a husband for his wife is not as keen as that of a lover for his beloved.

Lorenzo arrives and apologizes for being late. He assures them that he, too, would wait for them whenever the opportunity arose. They reach near Shy lock’s house and find Jessica in the balcony. She tells Lorenzo that she feels shy in boy’s clothes. She asks Lorenzo to hold the bag containing gold coins and jewels. When Lorenzo tells her that she is to be his torch-bearer in the masquerade, she feels embarrassed because a torch-bearer is exposed to light.

Lorenzo tells Gratiano that they both are faithful and sincere to each other. At that moment Antonio arrives there and accuses Gratiano for being late at the dinner. Antonio tells them that there will be no masquerade because they are very late. Moreover the wind is favourable and Bassanio is eager to sail off. Gratiano does not get disappointed because he, too, will sail off from Venice.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Critical Commentary

The story of the sub-plot has moved further. Jessica is ready to elope with Lorenzo. Bassanio’s ship is ready to move. Lorenzo and Jessica, it becomes clear later, go to Belmont on their own. They do not go along with Bassanio in his ship. Had they done this foolish act, they would have been caught as Shylock gets Bassanio’s ship searched on the Duke’s order. Now we find how the sub-plot is being linked with the main-plot.

Significance of the Scene

  1. The events of this scene take place on the same evening as those of scenes 4 and 5. The time is 9 pm.
  2. Lorenzo and Jessica’s elopement is frightening. Shylock becomes a real victim.
  3. The Christians are blind to what they are doing to Shylock.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 Glossary

Lines 1-25
pen-house : shelter
out-devels his : late-past the appointed
hour : hour
holds : applies
untread : retrace
younker : smart boy
prodigal : spendthrift
scarfed : with flags
baggar’d : made poor
strumpet : harlot
abode : wait

Lines 26-50
albeit : although
exchange : changed dress
Cupid : god of love
obscured : hidden
garnish : dress

Lines 51-70
beshrew : curse
mates : companions
fie : shame
presently : soon

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 5 Summary
Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 5 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Shylock, Jessica, Launcelot

Shylock is shouting for Jessica. He is telling Launcelot that when he goes to serve Bassanio, he will find the difference between his old master and the new master. He has been eating and drinking a lot at his house. He may not be able to do so in Bassanio’s house.

When Launcelot also calls for Jessica loudly, Shylock takes offence at it. Launcelot remarks humorously that he wanted to show that he could call for Jessica without being asked by Shylock to do so.

Jessica enters and Shylock gives the keys of the house to Jessica and tells her to keep all the doors and windows closed. He asks her to do so because he does not want the rowdy crowd in the streets to see her. He tells her that he does not want to leave her alone in the house, but he has to go to attend the dinner at Bassanio’s place merely to waste Bassanio’s money.

Launcelot, in the meanwhile, gives a hint to Jessica that Lorenzo will be coming to meet her at the appointed time when Launcelot leaves the place. Shylock tells his daughter that he is happy that Launcelot is joining the service of Bassanio. He will eat, drink and sleep there and ruin his new master. He again tells Jessica to keep the doors and windows closed because if due care is taken about things, they become secure. After Shylock leaves the house,

Jessica says to herself that if luck favours her, she will elope with Lorenzo. She will lose a father and Shylock will lose a daughter.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Critical Commentary

This scene carries forward the sub-plot of the story. Shylock leaves the house in order to have dinner with Bassanio. Jessica is left alone in the house. She gets an opportunity to elope with Lorenzo. Lorenzo and his friends are planning to bring out a masque. This masque will help Jessica to elope with Lorenzo. Jessica who is in love with Lorenzo is shown as a bold girl. On the other hand, Shylock is shown as a mean, calculating and clever character. He looks on everything with suspicion. In fact, this scene is a continuation of the last two scenes.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It prepares ground for Jessica’s elopement.
  2. It also throws light on Shylock’s suspicious and miserly nature.
  3. We learn of Launcelot’s character from Shylock’s point of view.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Glossary

Lines 1-25
gormandise : eat greedily
rend : wear out
bidding : order
bid forth : invited
loath : unwilling
a-brewing : mischief in the air
reproach : (here) ‘approach’

Lines 26-58
conspired : planned
Black Monday : Easter Monday
vile-squealing : shrill notes
fife : flute
clamber : climb up
casements : windows
varnish’d : painted
shallow foppery : foolish display
offspring : child
patch : fellow (Launcelot)
drones : idlers
hive : live
stale : old-fashioned
thrifty mind : careful person

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Lorenzo, Gratiano, Salarino, Salanio, Launcelot

The scene is set in Venice. We find Lorenzo, Gratiano, Salarino and Salanio discussing the proposal of a masque at night. Lorenzo says that they would slip away at supper-time, disguise themselves at his place and come back within an hour.

Gratiano informs that they have not made proper preparations for the masque. Salanio says that they should not go ahead without proper preparations. Lorenzo says that it is only four o’clock and they have two hours in which to arrange for the necessary equipment.

Launcelot comes with a letter for Lorenzo. Gratiano remarks that it must be a love letter. Lorenzo asks Launcelot to tell Jessica that he will positively meet her at the appointed time and place. Lorenzo asks his friends to meet at Gratiano’s house. He informs Gratiano that Jessica has planned to elope with him and that she will be carrying with her many gold coins and jewels.

Lorenzo remarks that if ever.Shylock happens to go to heaven it will be due to the virtues of his daughter, Jessica. At the same time he remarks that if ever Jessica suffers in her life, it will entirely be due to her devilish father.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Critical Commentary

This scene is very significant because it tells us about the elopement of Jessica with Lorenzo.

The plan is that there will be a procession in which the revellers will wear masques and carry torches. They will be busy in merry-making in the procession. The procession will pass by Shylock’s house on its way to Bassanio’s house. Jessica will join the procession in boy’s clothing. In this way she will escape in disguise from her father’s house. Jessica’s elopement with Lorenzo will carry the story further.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It makes for further progress in the Lorenzo-Jessica elopement plan.
  2. The masque is designed to help Jessica come out of her father’s house.
  3. Jessica’s behaviour is going to sharpen Shylock’s hatred for all Christians.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 4 Glossary

Lines 1-20
slink : slip
quaintly : prettily
an : if
break : break the seal
signify : tell
hand : handwriting
bid : invite

Lines 21-40
hold : stop
provided of : provided with
hence : from now
directed : asked
issue : child
faithless : non-believer
peruse : read

Merchant Of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Launcelot, Jessica

In this scene, Launcelot comes to bid farewell to Shylock’s daughter Jessica because he is going to leave his job with Shylock. Jessica feels sad that Launcelot is going to quit. She knows that her father’s house is a veritable hell for her. It was Launcelot who used to make her happy by his humorous and witty remarks. Thus his departure makes her unhappy.

Jessica gives some money to him and asks him to deliver a letter to Lorenzo. Launcelot sheds a few drops of tears and praises Jessica for her sweet and kind nature. He says that he is sure that someday some Christian young man would kidnap her. After Launcelot’s exit, Jessica says to herself that she is ashamed of being the daughter of a man like Shylock. She decides to run away with Lorenzo, marry him and become a Christian.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Critical Commentary

This scene diverts our attention from the main story that concerns Bassanio and Portia. It deals with the subplot of the story, i.e. the love story of Lorenzo and Shylock’s daughter Jessica.

Jessica in her remarks about her father throws sufficient light on the character of her father. She calls Shylock’s house ‘a veritable hell’. The fact that she wants to run away with Lorenzo proves that she is extremely unhappy in her own father’s house. Shakespeare wants to convey that Shylock is not even a kind or beloved father.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It provides a good deal of information about Shylock’s nature, his home and his tyrannical attitude towards his daughter Jessica.
  2. It also reveals Jessica’s love for a Christian.
  3. It prepares the ground for Jessica’s elopement.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Glossary

Lines 1-20
merry : amusing
rob : take away
taste of : a little
exhibit : (here) ‘inhibit’ (check)
pagan : non-believer
heinous : deadly

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Launcelot, the old Gobbo, Bassanio, Lorenzo, Gratiano

Launcelot Gobbo, a boy-servant with Shylock, is in a fix. He does not know whether he should continue in the Jew’s service or not. His conscience tells him that he should leave, while the devil advises him to the contrary. Ultimately, he decides to give up the job. The old Gobbo, his father, who is a blind man, appears on the scene. Launcelot plays tricks with him. He confuses him by giving wrong directions to Shy lock’s house. Then he gives him a fright by telling him that his son is dead.

When the old man begins to shed tears, he reveals his identity. The old Gobbo fails to recognize him because he has grown a beard. Launcelot proves his identity by telling him the name of his mother. Then he reveals to his father that he is going to leave Shylock’s service and join Bassanio’s as Bassanio is a generous master who gives fine clothes to his servants.

Bassanio appears on the scene in the company of Lorenzo and others. The old Gobbo requests Bassanio to take his son Launcelot into his service. When both begin to speak to Bassanio, they create a confusion. Then Bassanio asks them to speak one at a time. Thereafter Bassanio agrees to take Launcelot into his service. But Bassanio warns Launcelot that it is not advisible to leave the service of a wealthy merchant and take up a job with a poor master like Bassanio. But Launcelot is determined to do so.

He remarks, “Sir, you have the grace of God and he hath enough”. Bassanio is pleased with his remark and orders for the finest clothes for Launcelot. Launcelot is very happy to get this job. He examines his palm and tells himself that he has got eleven widows and nine maids for his wives. He also says to himself that he will escape from being drowned thrice.

At this moment Gratiano appears and requests Bassanio to take him along with him to Belmont. Bassanio agrees to take him with him provided he keeps his tongue in check at Belmont. Gratiano assures him that he will present himself as a very serious and sober man. But Gratiano requests Bassanio to allow him to be a little free with his tongue at Venice. Bassanio agrees because he has invited Antonio to dinner at his place and he wants Gratiano to entertain him with his witty and humorous remarks.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Critical Commentary

In this scene, Shakespeare introduces witty and humorous characters because the Elizabethan audience loved to listen to humorous and witty remarks and droll speeches on the stage. So by introducing Launcelot and Gratiano in the play, Shakespeare catered to the taste of the Elizabethan audience. Launcelot is a servant to Shylock. He wants to leave his service and take up a job with Bassanio. He amuses the audience when he talks about his conscience and the voice of the devil. The remarks that Launcelot makes are full of nonsense and his humour consists in the wrong use of words. It is called Tow comedy’. But the Elizabethans were fond of it. Launcelot is not a well-drawn comic character of Shakespeare.

About Gratiano, Bassanio remarks that he will allow him to make witty and humorous remarks to entertain his friend Antonio.

Significance of the Scene

  1. It introduces us to the jester of the play, Launcelot.
  2. It shows Bassanio preparing to go to Belmont.
  3. It is also a forerunner to the Lorenzo- Jessica elopement.
  4. Launcelot serves as a link between Lorenzo and Jessica.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 2 Glossary

Lines 1-30
fiend : devil
heed : care
bids : asks
budge : move
ruled : guided

Lines 31-55
sand-blind : half blind
high-gravel blind : more than half blind
waters : tears
well-to-live : well-to-do

Lines 56-80
beseech : request
deceased : dead
cudgel : staff/stick
Alack : alas

Lines 81-100
fooling : jesting
Jew’s man : Shylock’s servant
fill-horse : shaft-horse

Lines 101-120
halter : rope to hang
tell : count
liveries : uniforms
hasted : hasty
anon : soon

Lines 121-140
infection : wrongly spelled for ‘affection’
cater-cousins : on friendly terms
frutify : certify
suit : petition
impertinent : (here) pertinent
preferment : promotion

Lines 141-160
parted : divided
table : palm
trifle : line
scapes : escapes
wench : lady
gear : thing

Lines 161-180
bestow’d : placed
rude : rough
bold : loud
ally : tone down

Lines 181-202
skipping : lively
misconstrued : misunderstood
demurely : seriously
hood : cover
sad ostent : serious behaviour
grandam : grandmother
bar : make an exception
gauge : judge

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Portia, the Prince of Morocco

The scene opens in a room of Portia’s house. The Prince of Morocco entreats Portia not to reject him on account of his dark complexion which he has acquired from the hot climate of his country. He tells her that though his complexion is dark, his blood is redder than that of any other fairest man.

Portia tells the Prince of Morocco that the choice of a suitor is not in her hands. She has to marry a person according to the will left by her father. Had she been free in the choice of her marriage, she would have selected him in spite of his dark complexion.

On hearing these words, the Prince of Morocco feels flattered and then he boasts of his physical strength and courage. He brags that he has killed three Persian princes. He tells her that he is so brave that he can snatch away the young ones from the breast of a female bear. He adds that he can also tease a hungry lion, who is in search of his prey. But it is sad that sometimes chance does not favour the strongest man. It happened with the great Hercules. Hercules was beaten in a game of chess by his servant Lichas in spite of the fact that he was the strongest man in Greece.

Portia tells him that he has to take a chance. Moreover, he has to obey the conditions laid down in her father’s will. She tells her that if he fails to choose the right casket, he is not to disclose this secret to anybody. Also, he will never marry for the rest of his life. So before he takes a chance, he must take into consideration all these conditions.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Critical Commentary

The Prince of Morocco, one of the suitors, is introduced in this scene. He is a lightly drawn character. He has a dark complexion and is conscious of it. We come to know about his character from his speech. He boasts that he possesses a lot of physical strength and courage. The scene also gives sufficient information about the ‘casket-trial’. Portia tells the Prince of Morocco about the conditions laid down in her father’s will. He who makes the effort has to obey the conditions.

Significance of the Scene

This is an extension of Scene II of Act I.
We meet the Prince of Morocco and learn more about the lottery of caskets designed by Portia’s father.
The scene advances the subplot.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Glossary

Lines 1-25
mislike : misunderstand/ dislike
livery : uniform (skin)
burnish’d : burning
Phoebus’ fire : the heat of the sun
thaws : melts
incision : blood-letting
scanted : curtailed
hedged : confined
scimitar : a kind of sword

Lines 26-50
slew : killed
the Sophy : the Shah of Persia
fields : battles
outstare : look more defiant
advised : think properly
hazard : tough choice

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 3 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 3 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 3 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Bassanio, Shylock, Antonio

This scene is set in Venice. Bassanio and Shylock are found talking. Bassanio wants Shylock to lend him three thousand ducats for three months on Antonio’s surety. Shylock feels happy inwardly but tells Bassanio that it is difficult to depend upon Antonio’s surety as all his ships are on the sea. Then he adds that he is ready to give him loan as he wants to befriend them. When Bassanio invites him to dinner, he says he is prepared to do business with the Christians but he cannot dine with them, or pray with them.

When Antonio appears, Shylock pretends as if he has not noticed him. He talks to himself, thinking of his hatred for Antonio and he resolves to revenge himself on him. He hates Antonio because he is a Christian, but he hates him chiefly because Antonio lends money without charging interest, thus jeopardising his business interests. Moreover, Antonio has abused and humiliated him in public on many occasions.

Shylock pledges that if ever Antonio gets into his trap, he will teach him a lesson. Shylock says that he does not have three thousand ducats, but he will borrow the amount from one of his Jewish friends named Tubal.

Antonio tells Shylock that he neither lends nor borrows money on interest, but still he will request him to lend money to Bassanio on his personal surety. Shylock tells Antonio that he, too, does not charge any interest, but then, he makes money, breeds money as Jacob, their prophet, made the ewes of Laban breed lambs for him.

Antonio gets annoyed with Shylock because he thinks that he, like the devil, can quote scriptures to serve his own purpose. When Antonio tells him that he is not asking for loan for himself but for his friend Bassanio, Shylock remarks he has been insulting him in private as well as in public places and yet he is now asking for loan from him.

Antonio asserts that he will continue insulting him and he wants him to lend him money like an enemy and if he fails to return the money in time, he might charge the heaviest penalty from him. Shylock, then, asks him to calm down and go to some lawyer to execute some merry bond. He tells him that it will be written in the bond that if Antonio fails to return the money in time, he will be entitled to cut a pound of flesh from any part of. Antonio’s body.

Bassanio is opposed to such a bond. He tells Antonio not to sign such a bond, but Antonio assures him that he will be able to return three thousand ducats before the appointed day. On hearing Bassanio’s words, Shylock says that Christians are unduly suspicious. He adds that one pound of human flesh is more worthless than one pound of mutton or beef or any other human flesh. He tells them that he would not gain anything by cutting one pound of flesh from Antonio’s breast on the forfeiture of the bond.

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Critical Commentary

The action of this scene takes place in Venice again. Here we are introduced to the rich jew, Shylock, one of the most complex and remarkable characters of Shakespeare. In order to help his friend Bassanio, Antonio signs a dangerous bond which takes the story further. The friendliness and frankness that Shylock shows towards Antonio are skilfully described by Shakespeare. We also come to know of Antonio’s arrogance and hatred for Shylock. He has been in the habit of abusing him, spitting on him and kicking him like a cur.

Shylock who has been insulted and ill-treated by Antonio finds a good opportunity to entrap Antonio. So he gets a dangerous bond signed by him. Though Shylock craftily gets the bond signed, the whole affair looks natural. Antonio is confident that all his ships on the sea will return safely before the appointed day. Shylock, on his part, tells Antonio that penalty would not be extracted at the forfeiture of the bond.

Shakespeare describes the hostility between the Jews and the Christians. He presents the hated Jewish moneylender in a remarkable manner.

Significance of the Scene

  1. We meet Shylock and realize how wicked he is in entrapping Antonio.
  2. Bassanio is provided with the money to go to Belmont.
  3. The scene moves the action forward.
  4. The scene is remarkable for its poetry and dialogue.

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Glossary

Lines 1-25
stead : help
imputation : allegation
in supposition : under risk
argosy : merchant ship
squandered : spent lavishly
peril : danger

Lines 26-40
bethink : think seriously
habitation : flesh of swine
conjured : summoned with magic
fawning : servile, submissive
publican : tax collector
gratis : without interest
feed fat : fully enjoy

Lines 41-70
congregate : gather together
debating : calculating
soft : wait
ripe : urgent
possess’d : informed
advantage : interest

Lines 71-90
wrought : planned
compromised : agreed
eanlings : lambs (newborn)
hire : reward
inserted : mentioned

Lines 91-110
cite : quote
beholding : obliged
rated : insulted
usances : practice of lending money
sufferance : patience

Lines 111-140
void : throw
rheum : spit
cur : dog
key : tone
bated breath : low voice
breed : profit/gain
break : fail
doit : a copper coin
kind : kindness

Lines 141-174
merry sport : a joke or jest for amusement
equal : exact
exaction : payment
favour : obligation
seal : sign
dismay : fear
before the day : before the expiry of the bond

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary
Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Portia, Nerissa

This scene is set in Belmont. Portia is seen talking to her companion Nerissa. Portia tells her that she is ‘weary’ of the world. Nerissa says that she must be so because she has excess of wealth. Portia seems to agree with her. Nerissa tells her that her remarks would be better if these were acted upon.

Portia retorts that it is always easy to preach than to practise. Her real worry is about her future. She feels that her father has left her no freedom to choose her husband by designing the lottery of caskets. Nerissa defends Portia’s father saying that he was a wise person. Only a desirable suitor for her would correctly interpret the inscriptions on the caskets and choose the right casket.

Portia comments upon the various suitors who have already come to try their luck. She seems to like no one. She thinks that the Neapolitan Prince is no better than a horse as he always talks of horses.

Then she remarks that county Palatine is so sad and serious that it is better to marry a dead man’s skull than to marry such a weeping philosopher. Portia makes negative remarks about Monsieur Le Bon. She says that he talks even more about horses than the Neapolitan Prince. In fact he does not have a personality at all. As regards Falconbridge, the young baron of England, he hardly understands the European languages.

Moreover, he is strangely dressed because he has borrowed some articles of dress from every country. So it is impossible to think of marrying him. As regards the Scottish lord, he is a coward. Regarding the young German, Portia remarks that he is addicted to drinking and is never found to be sober. The best way to get rid of him would be to place a bottle of wine in one of the wrong caskets so that he chooses the Wrong casket.

Thereafter, Nerissa tells Portia that she need not bother about these suitors because they do not want to try their luck by the caskets and, therefore, have decided to leave Belmont. Nerissa, then, asks her opinion about Bassanio who visited her earlier in the company of Marquis of Mountferret and says that he is the ideal lover who deserves her hand in marriage.

Portia recollects Bassanio’s visit and agrees with Nerissa’s opinion. At this moment a servant enters and informs Portia that the Prince of Morocco has arrived to try his luck. Portia remarks that if the Prince of Morocco has a dark complexion and a priestly mind she would prefer to have him for religious consolation rather than as a husband.

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Critical Commentary

In this scene we are introduced to the heroine of the play, Portia, in her home at Belmont. She is uncertain of her future due to the strange provisions of her father’s will with regard to her marriage. According to her father’s will, a person who chooses the right casket out of the three caskets will be able to marry her. But the story moves ahead when Portia recollects Bassanio’s earlier visit. She remembers Bassanio with tender thoughts of him. We come to know about Portia’s liking for Bassanio from the conversation between Portia and Nerissa. From the conversation we make out that Nerissa is a clever and witty maid.

A number of suitors are talked about. In them we find a revelation of the various types of European personalities of those times. The Prince of Naples thinks of nothing but horsemanship; the count Palatine is a joyless person; the Frenchman is a hot-headed person; the English man is queerly dressed, the Scottish lord is a coward. These character-sketches of various suitors amuse the readers.

This scene is written in prose; and this shows that this play The Merchant of Venice belongs to the middle period of Shakespeare’s works. In his early works, he made use of prose only in the comic dialogues of clowns and other humorous characters.

Significance of the Scene

  1. The scene introduces Portia and Nerissa.
  2. It informs us of the casket lottery.
  3. We also learn of Portia’s interest in Bassanio.

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 2 Glossary

Lines 1-20
aweary : tired
aught : anything
surfeit : in excess
mean : middle
superfluity : excess
decree : law

Lines 21-45
over-name : name over
colt : wild young horse
appropriation : part
afeard : afraid

Lines 46-75
death’s head : a skeleton with a bone
capering : jumping
requite : return love
suited : dressed

Lines 76-95
vilely : badly
shift : manage
rhenish wine : a wine of Rhine
ere : before
sponge : drunkard

Lines 96-110
acquainted : informed
determinations : decisions
imposition : condition
chaste : pure
Diana : the Moon-goddess
parcel : crowd /group
dote on : long for

Lines 111-128
thy : your
seek : wish to meet
forerunner : advance messenger
shrive : give spiritual consolation
wive : marry