Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Launcelot, Jessica, Lorenzo

Launcelot indulges in some jesting at the expense of Jessica. He says that there is no hope of salvation for her because her father is a Jew. Jessica retorts that she will be saved by her husband’s virtues and by her conversion to Christianity. At this the jester finds fault with Lorenzo in marrying her. In fact, he has done a wrong to the commonwealth of the Christians because by doing so, he has added to the number of pork eaters.

Thus he is responsible for the increase in the prices of pork in the market. Lorenzo arrives on the scene and tells them that if they talk to each other in such an intimate manner, he is bound to suspect that there is something wrong between them. Lorenzo then asks Launcelot to get their dinner ready. When Launcelot uses some words wrongly, Lorenzo calls him stupid. Launcelot, then, leaves to arrange dinner for them. Lorenzo asks Jessica about her opinion about Portia.

Jessica praises Portia for her virtues and says that she is a blessing in Bassanio’s life. Lorenzo, too, praises Bassanio for his goodness and remarks that he is a good husband. Both go to the dining table to continue this discussion about Portia and Bassanio.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Critical Commentary

Lorenzo and Jessica are staying at Portia’s house in Belmont. The scene opens on a humorous note. Launcelot and Jessica converse with each other in a humorous way. Launcelot tells Jessica that she would be damned due to the sins of her father, Shylock. But Jessica retorts that in that case she would be saved by the virtues of Lorenzo. This humorous conversation is meant to amuse the ‘groundlings.’ Jessica’s words of praise for Portia throw more light on the character of Portia.

This scene does not further the action of the play. But it definitely heightens the characters of Portia and Bassanio in the eyes of the readers.

Significance of the Scene

  1. This scene is essential to indicate the passage of time to enable Portia to reach Venice.
  2. It gives us Jessica’s estimate of Portia.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Glossary

Lines 1-30
agitation : thought
rasher : piece of bacon
corners : privacy
flatly : plainly
wit-snapper : a witty person

Lines 31-50
govern : dominate
better place : better social status
tricksy : tricky
meet : proper

Lines 51-67
pawn’d : pledged
anon : soon
stomach : inclination

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