Merchant of Venice Act 3 Review

Scene 1 note 1 Solanio and Salarino discuss Antonio’s luck. It is rumored that another of Antonio’s ships has been wrecked. They worry Antonio will be ruined because of the “cruel bond” (contract) that Antonio has made with Shylock. Shylock appears.
Scene 1 note 2 Shylock accuses them of helping Jessica run away. They admit to it. When Solanio says Jessica was old enough to leave and Shylock disagrees (“flesh and blood”). Salarino says that there is “more difference between thy flesh and hers than between jet (a deep black stone) and ivory.
Scene 1 note 3 Solanio then asks if Shylock knows about Antonio’s ships. Shylock says yes, and that Shylock would really want a pound of Antonio’s flesh, but Shylock affirms that he wants it to “feed” his “revenge” on Antonio for mocking him, causing him to loose money, and insulting the Jewish “nation”
Scene 1 note 4 Shylock says that a Jew has “hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions” and is “fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is”. If you prick a Jew, he’ll bleed, if you tickle him, he’ll laugh, if you poison him, he’ll die. Shylock says that if you wrong a Jew, he will seek revenge, just as a Christian would. Shylock promises to use the same “villainy” that the Christians “teach,”
Scene 1 note 5 One of Antonio’s servants enters and says that Antonio would like to see Solanio and Salarino. Tubal enters. Tubal has been searching for Jessica in Genoa but has been unable to find her. Shylock rants against his daughter, and his financial losses. He is mad when Tubal says that Jessica has taken a ring – given to Shylock by a woman named Leah, Jessica’s mother(?) – and has traded that ring for a monkey.
Scene 1 note 6 Shylock is consoled, when Tubal reminds him that Antonio has lost another of his ships at Tripolis, and “is certainly undone.” Shylock says that he will take his pound of flesh from Antonio’s heart if Antonio forfeits on his loan. He then tells Tubal to go and meet him later at the synagogue.
Scene 2 note 1 Portia begs Bassanio to think about his decision before he chooses. If he chooses incorrectly he can’t marry her. She confesses that if it were up to her she would give herself to him entirely. Bassanio is tortured by the uncertainty of waiting, and convinces her to let him try the riddle.
Scene 2 note 2 Portia instructs that music should be played so that, if Bassanio chooses incorrectly, he will at least make a “swan like end”. The song: “Tell me where is Fancy bred/or in the heart, or in the head…” Bassanio stands before the caskets debating his choice for some time. First he rejects gold: “hard food for Midas, I will none of these” (3.2.102); then silver, “pale and common drudge ‘tween man and man” (3.2.103-4). Finally Bassanio chooses lead.
Scene 2 note 3 Bassanio opens the lead casket. Inside, he finds a painting of Portia and a poem praising the wisdom of his choice. Bassanio turns to Portia and asks her if she’ll marry him. Portia reassures him: (3.2.166-7). As a symbol confirming her love, she gives him a ring, with which he must promise never to part.
Scene 2 note 4 Gratiano asks Bassanio for permission to marry saying that he has already fallen in love with Nerissa. Nerissa confirms that she loves Gratiano as well. Bassanio says they will share a wedding.
Scene 2 note 5 Salerio explains that he is carrying a letter from Antonio for Bassanio.
Scene 2 note 6 Bassanio gets upset as he reads the letter. He tells Portia about the money he allowed Antonio to borrow from Shylock and of Antonio’s lost ships. Salerio curses Shylock :(3.2.274-5), and says that he has been begging the Duke to give him justice. Jessica pipes in that when she was with her father she heard him say that “he would rather have Antonio’s flesh/than twenty times the value of the sum/that he did owe him.” All agree that unless “law, authority, and power” (3.2.288) can find a way to deny Shylock his vengeful desire, Antonio is in BIG trouble and will be giving up a pound of flesh.
Scene 2 note 7 Portia asks Bassanio if they are close (is it your dear friend?). When Bassanio affirms that he is, Portia offers to pay three thousand ducats that he owes 20 times over. She then asks to see the letter.
Scene 2 note 8 Bassanio reads the letter aloud. In it, Antonio confesses to that there is no chance that he will survive Shylock’s extracting of the pound of flesh. Antonio insists that all debts between himself and Bassanio are cleared. He has only one request: to see Bassanio before he dies. Bassanio hastily prepares to depart.
Scene 3 note 1 Shylock wants the jailer to go after Antonio, calling Antonio a fool who lent out money for free (explain, how does Antonio lend out money for free?) Antonio tries to reason with Shylock, but he insists on getting the bond that was sworn for.
Scene 3 note 2 Shylock noted that Antonio called him a dog before he had any reason to so now he will live up to his reputation
Scene 3 note 3 Shylock wants justice from the Duke, but everyone is hesitating (Why may they be hesitating?) Shylock leaves angry, saying that he’ll have his bond with no interference from the Christians.
Scene 3 note 4 Antonio understands why Shylock has it in for him – often people who had forfeited their debts with Shylock moaned about it to Antonio, who then rescued them. Antonio thinks this is the reason Shylock hates him. (That and his cruel anti-Semitism. Keep in mind he doesn’t know about Lorenzo)
Scene 3 note 5 Antonio says that there’s nothing the Duke can do about the situation. Venice allows foreign nationals some commercial privileges, which keeps trade alive. If the Duke were to impose on the rights of foreigners for Antonio’s sake, it would compromise justice, trade, and profit in the whole city.
Scene 3 note 6 Antonio is giving up – he’s been so reduced by all the events that a pound of flesh doesn’t matter to him. He says he’s so wasted away that he doubts Shylock will even be able to find a pound on his body to take. He gives himself over to the jailer and hopes Bassanio will come see him. After that, Antonio doesn’t care what happens.
Scene 4 note 1 At Belmont, Lorenzo is flirting with Portia. He compliments her bearing the absence of her new husband so graciously and nobly. He says, if Portia knew what a great guy Antonio is, and how good he is to her husband Bassanio, then she’d be even happier to do her wifely duty.
Scene 4 note 2 Portia doesn’t mind the compliment, if Antonio is such a great friend to her lord Bassanio, then Antonio might as well be her lord, too. Bassanio’s absence is a small price to pay to help Antonio.
Scene 4 note 3 Portia tells Lorenzo that she’s going to go off to a nearby monastery with Nerissa to pray for two days while the men are gone. Portia asks Lorenzo to watch after her home …
Scene 4 note 4 Lorenzo agrees. Portia is left alone with her attendant Balthazar and Nerissa. She sends Balthazar on his way with some instructions: he’s to take these letters to Padua and deliver them to Portia’s cousin Doctor Bellario. The Doctor will likely give Balthazar some letters and clothes in return, and he is to take them and rush over to the ferry that goes to trade with Venice. She promises to meet him there.
Scene 4 note 5 Portia tells Nerissa that they will see their husbands sooner than they think.
Scene 4 note 6 Portia explains their husbands will see them but wont recognize them. The women will be dressed as men. The other men will think the disguised girls are accomplished men. (done for two reasons, to outcome is to trick everyone)
Scene 4 note 7 Portia says she’s studied many “young fools” and can mimic their foolish behavior. Such behaviors include bragging about fights they’ve been in, bragging about the women they’ve dated, and several other silly behaviors. She’ll work to portray a recently graduated man who’s pompous … as most young men tend to be.
Scene 4 note 8 Nerissa wonders what all the fuss is about and why they need to dress up like men anyway. Portia says she’ll explain everything in the coach, which is waiting for them. They have no time to loose, as they’ve got a long way to go, and disguises they must change in to.
Scene 5 note 1 Lancelot talks to Jessica in Portia’s garden. Lancelot says that Jessica is damned to hell because she’s the daughter of a Jew. There’s hope for her in the possibility that she’s not actually her father’s daughter, but Jessica points out that if that’s true, she’d be punished for her mothers sins.
Scene 5 note 2 Lancelot agrees that Jessica is damned either way. But she points out that she’ll be saved by her husband, who will make her Christian when she marries her. The trouble with this, says Lancelot, is that there are enough Christians already, and more Christians will mean more pork-eaters, which will raise the price of pork, regardless of who has come around to a different view of God.