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

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