Merchant of Venice: Act 2

Scene 1 What Scene is this? Morocco has come to take the casket challenge to win Portia’s hand, but she tells him that if he fails, he may never marry.
He addresses his skin color and states how he is no different from any other man. His skin color does not change the amount of love he has for Portia, and should not change how she views him. [2.1] Examine Morocco’s opening lines. What issues does he address?
His dialogue is an attempt to prove that he is more than his skin color and that his skin color shouldn’t make him inferior to a white man, which reflects the Elizabethan perception of Moors because Elizabethans had racist viewpoints, and therefore most likely saw the Moors as inferior because of their dark skin. [2.1] Look at the language he uses in 2.1.1-12 and 22-38. How does the imagery in his speech reflect the Elizabethan preception of Moors?
She responds by saying that looks don’t matter to her entirely, and she says her other criteria doesn’t matter because her father’s boxes make the decision and she has no say.. He has just as much a chance as the other suitors. Based on her previous comments to Nerissa, I don’t believe her with her words on her views about Morocco. She isn’t lying about whether or not she can make the decision of the suitor, but is lying about having other criteria for suitors, because she told Nerissa she dislikes Morocco for his skin and his personality did not matter. [2.1] What is Portia’s reaction to Morocco? Based on her previous comments to Nerissa, do you believe her? Why or why not?
She is careful with her words because she doesn’t want to reveal her true racism, so she makes an excuse and clearly articulates it. This indicates her level of intelligence because she is able to think on the spot and fabricate convincing lies easily. [2.1] Notice how careful Portia is with her words. Why do you think this is? What does this indicate about her intelligence?
Because the Prince of Morocco is most likely from another religion, not Christian, but most likely Muslim. Portia, on the other hand, is Christian. Both of them cannot use biblical imagery because they don’t share common knowledge of the Bible, but share common knowledge on Mythology. [2.1] Why do you think there is no Biblical imagery, only mythological imagery, in this scene?
Scene 2 What Scene is this? Launcelot Gobbo, Shylock’s servant, ponders running away from Shylock to serve another master. He encounters his father, Old Gobbo, who is nearly blind and doesn’t recognize his son. Launcelot plays a trick on his father, misdirecting him and pretending that Launcelot is dead, but soon reveals himself and asks for his father’s blessing. During their reunion, Launcelot begs Bassanio to have him as a servant. Bassanio then sees Gratiano, who asks to go to Belmont with Bassanio. Bassanio allows Gratiano to accompany him, making clear, however, that Gratiano needs to be on his best behavior, since he has a reputation for being a wild man. Gratiano agrees, but asks that his behavior not be judged on the partying they plan to do that night.
Belmont, in Portia’s house What is the location of Scene 1, in which Morocco comes to try the casket challenge and discuss marriage with Portia?
A street in Venice What is the location of Scene 2, in which Launcelot speaks with his father and Bassanio agrees to let Gratiano come with him to Belmont?
His debate is between his conscience and his ‘devil’ over whether or not to quit his job with Shylock. The devil is asking him to leave while his conscience is telling him to stay. He decides the devil is in the right, and he should listen to him and leave Shylock, who he believes is the true devil in the situation. [2.2] What is Launcelot’s debate about?
he wants to play a game with him, and tells him that Launcelot is dead, shocking Old Gobbo. Launcelot then asks if Gobbo recognizes him, testing Gobbo on how wise he is. Due to Gobbo’s near blindness, he does not recognize Launcelot, who continuously insists he is indeed Gobbo’s son and asks for his blessing. Essentially, this was all a prank on his father. [2.2] When Old Gobbo enters and Launcelot recognizes him, why doesn’t Launcelot reveal himself to his father? What is the purpose in hiding his identity?
It is to show what their relationship is like and to develop each of their characters. It is also to show what Launcelot’s life is like and what conditions under Shylock are like. [2.2] What purpose does the scene between Launcelot and Old Gobbo have?
He wants to leave SHylock’s service because conditions under him are poor. He is not given enough food or payment, and Launcelot is unhealthily skinny because of this. Lancelot also describes Shylock as mean and in a negative light, affecting perceptions of him. Shylock is now seen as cruel and cheap. ti also furthers the discriminatory idea that being Jewish is a negative thing. [2.2] Why does Launcelot want to leave Shylock’s service? How do his comments affect our perceptions about Shylock?
SShylcok recommended Launcelot to Bassanio earlier that day. Bassanio is also much less wealthy than Shylcok, s oh e welcomes the opportunity of having another servant. Launcelot also speaks to Bassanio with great gratitude and is very complimentary, which possibly could have further convinced Bassanio. Further, Launcelot believes he has a lot of luck, which helped him to obtain the job. [2.2] Why does Bassanio accept Launcelot as his servant so quickly? Can he afford a servant?
Simply because he wants to come along. Possibly because he wants to find a wife, because as soon as he gets there he becomes engaged with Nerissa. [2.2] Why does Gratiano want to go with Bassanio to Belmont?
Bassanio tells him to act more serious and be less wild and loud. Gratiano says he will be serious looking, talk respectfully, swear minimally, carry prayer books, participate when they say grace, and watch his manners. [2.2] What terms does Bassanio give him in order to go? Under what terms does Gratiano agree?
Scene 1 What Scene is this? Jessica tells Launcelot that she, too, plans to run away from her father’s house with Bassanio’s friend Lorenzo.
Venice, Shylock’s house What is the location of Act 2, Scene 3?
a letter to Lorenzo that Launcelot must secretly give him when they meet at dinner at Bassanio’s. [2.3] What does Jessica give Launcelot?
-In [1.3] Shylock’s character is first portrayed, and he is seen as grumpy, angry, cheap, and mean. -In [2.2], Launcelot claims he is starved working under Shylock and is treated poorly. -In [2.3], Jessica refers to Launcelot as a “merry devil”, but in the same sentence says he helped to make living with Shylock more bearable. -In [2.3] Jessica considers Shylock so cruel that she is ashamed to be his daughter and is ashamed to be a Jew. [2.3] What clues from Act 1, Scene 3 and Act 2, Scene 2 and this scene would indicate that Shylock’s house is”hell”?
He is trying to say she is a “sweet Jew” and a “beautiful Pagan”, and says that a Christian might be want her enough that he would ‘resort to trickery’. This is ironic, because it is somewhat of a backhanded compliment, and makes the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Pagan’ sound derogatory. It sounds like he is saying “you’re pretty beautiful/sweet for a Pagan/Jew”, and “you might even be good enough for a Christian to fall in love with you”. [2.3] What “compliment” is Launcelot trying to give Jessica? What is ironic about Launcelot’s speech in lines 10-13?
She is ashamed to be a Jew because of her father, since his behavior is mean and cruel, and by also being Jewish herself, she is afraid she will be labeled as someone like her father due to their shared religion and blood. [2.3] Why is Jessica ashamed to be a Jew?
It has more to do with her father, because her faith doesn’t make her life “hell” (though it could contribute), but living with her father does due to his cruel behavior. Her father is the reason she is ashamed to be Jewish. Her faith is also a factor, because in order to marry Lorenzo she must run away and convert to Christianity. If she was already Christian, she may not have to run away and would be able to easily marry Lorenzo [2.3] How much of her running away is related to her oppressive father, and how much is related to her faith? What evidence do you have for your argument?
There are more differences than similarities. I think what they have in common is that they aren’t particularly close/ have a lot in common. Differences are that Launcelot and Gobbo live apart but have a nice relationship, whereas Shylock and Jessica live together and have a poor relationship. [2.3] What similarities are there between Launcelot and Gobbo’s relationship and Jessica and Shylock’s? What are the differences you can see this far?
Scene 4 What scene is this? Lorenzo, Gratiano, Salerio, and Solanio make plans for the masque, a Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) celebration, discussion g whether or not they should arrange for torchbearers. Launcelot, on his way to invite Shylock to dine with Bassanio, arrives with Jessica’s letter detailing her plans for escape, which includes taking her father’s gold and jewels. Lorenzo tells Gratiano that Jessica will be disguised as a page and will serve as a torchbearer during the night’s festivities.
A street in Venice What is the location of Act 2, Scene 4?
Being a torchbearer could be considered vile and a form of servant work, or a low form of manual labor. But in this context, Solanio seems to be refering to the masquerade party possibly turning out poorly. [2.4] Why would torchbearers be considered vile?
It tells Gratiano how he can get her out of Shylock’s house; what gold and jewels she owns; and how she will wear a page’s uniform as a disguise. [2.4] What does Jessica’s letter say?
Her plan is to take her father’s gold and jewels and escape his house with Lorenzo disguised as a page. then she will convert to Christianity and marry Lorenzo. [2.4] What is her plan?
Scene 5 What scene is this?Shylock reacts angrily to Launcelot’s leaving him, but accepts the invitation to eat with Bassanio despite some nagging premonitions. Launcelot hints to Shylock that there will be a Shrove Tuesday masque that night, and SHylock orders Jessica to lock up the house so as to avoid getting robbed by the revelers. Launcelot tells Jessica that Lorenzo will go through with their plans.
Venice; outside of Shylock’s house. What is the location of Act 2, Scene 5?
indulge in good eating; eat greedily. [2.5] What does the word gormandize mean in (2.5.3)?
He is very angry about it, and lectures him saying he will no longer be able to “gormandize” and “sleep and snore” as he supposedly could with Shylock. [2.5] What is Shylock’s initial reaction to Launcelot’s leaving his service?
He goes out of spite, and to ‘feed off the wasteful Christian’. He continues to say that things are not going his way at the moment. [2.5] Why does Shylock say he will accept Bassanio’s invitation?
It is actually accurate, because Launcelot intended to say that Bassanio was expecting Shylock’s approach but he instead says that Bassanio is expecting Shylock’s reproach, or disapproval, which Shylock now has for Bassanio since Launcelot is switching to Bassanio’s service. [2.5] How is Launcelot’s “misused” word (reproached; in 2.5.20) actually accurate?
He is glad because Launcelot eats too much, is a slow worker, and sleeps to often. Since he is an overall poor worker, he doesn’t want him living in his house. [2.5] Why does Shylock say at the end of the scene that he is glad Launcelot is leaving?
Shylock displays himself as a father through his actions to Jessica in the way he instructs her to lock-up the house before he goes out to dinner, showing he is worried not only about his house, but about his daughter’s safety. He displays himself as a master through his instructions to Jessica, and through his language towards Launcelot. [2.5] How does Shylock perceive himself as a master and a father ?Give evidence from the text to support your answer.
Semi-accurate. The way Shylock describes Launcelot, it seems as though Launcelot eats and sleeps greatly, which contradicts Launcelot’s previous statement. Shylock also seems genuinely concerned about Jessica’s safety, whereas she made him seem cruel. At the same time, he still orders the two around, which seems t o math their previous descriptions of him. These descriptions make Shylock’s character seem more complex, and shows that he has both good and bad qualities. [2.5] This is the first time Launcelot and Jessica are together with Shylock onstage. How accurate were Launcelot’s and Jessica’s descriptions of Shylock’s household? How does this further develop our understanding of Shylock’s character?
Scene 6 What scene is this? Gratiano and Salerio meet Lorenzo outside Shylock’s house, in order to help Jessica, now dressed as a young man (page), escape with a a casket of Shylock’s gold and jewels. As Gratiano is about to leave fore the revelries, Antonio catches him, saying that Bassanio’s ship is about to depart, so he’d better skip the festivities.
Venice; outside Shylock’s house. Where does Act 2, Scene 6 take place?
They don’t know where Lorenzo and Jessica are; they are worried about Jessica and Lorenzo’s love in general. [2.6] Why are Gratiano and Salerio anxious?
Salerio says that time passes much faster for new lovers than with old lovers. Gratiano has the same viewpoints, and makes a series of metaphors that seem to convey that he believes that over time, love gets old and worn-out, and loses its novelty. [2.6] What do the tow men say about the nature of love? What view of love does Gratiano take?
Bassanio’s love for Portia only exists because of her looks and wealth. If she wasn’t beautiful or rich, he would have no interest in her. therefore, his love for Portia is not true. Lorenzo’s love fore Jessica is truelove, because Jessica is not described as pretty or wealthy but Lorenzo still loves her. Further, he loves her despite her father and the difficult circumstances she live sin, and he even helps her out of them, showing he truly cares. [2.6] Review Bassanio’s speech in 1.1.161-176. How is Lorenzo’s love for Jessica different from Bassanio’s love for Portia? How are they the same?
Yes, because he truly cares about her since he is going through such great lengths to simply marry her, showing he is willing to do anything for her. He is also very complimentary towards her, even when she is not present. He even says in lines 52-57 that he is deeply in love with her. He is loyal to her. [2.6] Do you think Jessica will be happy with Lorenzo? Why or why not?
Scene 7 What scene is this? In Belmont, Morocco enters the lottery to win Portia’s hand in marriage. He reads the inscriptions on each of the caskets and selects the gold one, whose inscription reads, “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire” (2.7.37). Since the gold casket is made of such a valuable material, he reasons, it is the only one fit to contain Portia’s image. When he opens the casket, he finds a skull with a scroll in the eye socket. When he leaves, Portia declares that she hopes that all “men of his complexion” (2.7.79) choose the same way.
Belmont, Portia’s house What is the setting in Act 2, Scene 7?
[2.7] How does Morocco’s mind work, that is, what do his words say about who he is? Based on his reasoning, what is his opinion of Portia? where do his priorities lie?
[2.7] How does death represent “what many men desire” (2.7.37)?