Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 1 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 1 Summary

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

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 1 Summary

Setting : Venice
Characters : Salarino, Salanio, Shylock, Tubal

Salarino and Salanio stand discussing the latest news on the Rialto. There is a rumour about the loss of one of Antonio’s ships in the English Channel and it has not yet been contradicted. When Shylock appears, Salanio asks him if there is any hews. Shylock remarks peevishly that there is no news except that of his daughter’s flight.

Then Shylock curses his daughter for eloping with a Christian and for robbing him. Salarino’s remark that his daughter being a grown-up woman has left her father provokes Shylock. He further enrages him by saying that Antonio has lost a ship. He (Shylock) swears to exact the full penalty of his bond if Antonio fails to pay back.

When Salarino asks him what he would gain with a pound of human flesh, Shylock replies that it will satisfy his sense of revenge, even if he is to gain nothing materially. At this, Salarino and and Salanio leave Shylock. When Shylock is alone, his friend Tubal, a Jew, appears on the scene. Shylock asks Tubal about his daughter.

Tubal tells him that he could not meet her but he did get some information about her at Genoa. Shylock again curses his daughter and wishes her to be dead and all the gold coins lying with her in the coffin. Shylock curses his ill-luck. Tubal informs him that his daughter squandered away eighty ducats in one night. Shylock is shocked to know from Tubal that Jessica bought a monkey with a diamond ring. He feels miserable and shaken. He is full of despair and sorrow.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 1 Critical Commentary

The scene indicates that Antonio will suffer heavy losses in the days to come. It is becoming certain that Antonio will not be able to pay back the money to Shylock and will have to pay the penalty. On the other hand, Shylock is very angry at the loss of his money and the elopement of his daughter. He has become as merciless as a tigress robbed of her cub.

The reason for his hatred for Antonio is also due to the fact that he had several times intervened to lend money to the helpless debtors and saved them from the clutches of the Jew. Now Antonio has fallen in his trap and he will not allow him to slip away. Shylock reflects that if Antonio is out of his way, he will make huge profits. He is jealous of Antonio’s goodness and kindness. Shylock is expected to be merciless with Antonio and he will take revenge upon Antonio.

Significance of the Scene

  1. This scene moves the action to the point of crisis.
  2. Shylock openly talks of revenge.
  3. The use of prose indicates the holding up of romance for some time.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 1 Glossary

Lines 1-25
Rialto : stock exchange
lading : cargo
knapped : nibbled
ship of prolixity : tedious speeches
title : adjective
betimes : in good times
cross : frustrate
wings : dress

Lines 26-40
complexion : nature
jet and ivory : black and white
rhenish : white wine
match : transaction

Lines 41-70
mart : market
usurer : one who gives loan at a very high rate of interest.
thwarted : obstructed /blocked
dimensions : limbs
humility : forbearance
better : improve upon

Lines 71-90
tribe : the Jewish race
would : wish
hearsed : put in coffin
lights : falls
shedding : shedding tears

Lines 91-120
argosy : merchant ship
cast away : wrecked
divers : travellers
plague : persecute
out upon her : shame upon her
turquoise : precious blue stone
fee : engage
synagogue : a Jewish temple

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