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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare

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Act II, scenes i–iv

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Act II, scenes i–iv

Act II, scenes i–iv

Act II, scenes i–iv

Act II, scenes i–iv

Act II, scenes i–iv

Although Shylock does not appear in these scenes, our view of him is further shaped by the opinions of those closest to him. Even though his servant and daughter do not like him, their descriptions of him inadvertently make him a more sympathetic figure in our eyes. Launcelot, we learn, is not abandoning his post because Shylock has proved to be a cruel or harsh master, but because he seems to fear contamination from being so close to a Jew. Interestingly, although he calls Shylock a devil, Launcelot points out that his desire to leave is a temptation more devilish still, and says his desire to stay is a product of his conscience, which is generally a guide of what is right. Jessica, too, voices no real complaint about her father, other than the tedium of life with him, but she seems eager to escape her Jewish heritage, which she sees as a stain on her honor. Jessica even brings the morality of her own actions into question when she calls her shame at being Shylock’s daughter a sin, and she feels enormous guilt at her own sentiments. Her desire to convert would undoubtedly have been applauded by Elizabethan audiences, but here it is expressed as a kind of young recklessness that borders on selfishness. The negative impression that Shylock has given us with his first appearance is somewhat counteracted by the words of those closest to him, who feel guilty even as they speak ill of him.

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ACT II, SCENES I–IV QUIZ

What is the penalty for Portia’s suitors if they guess the wrong casket?
They must exile themselves
They must apologize
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plz ans dis 2

by JuZ2StuDy, April 22, 2014

Describe merchant of venice as a romantic comedy.

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Portia's Ring

by SwayamP, May 09, 2014

I feel that another significant symbol in this play is Portia's ring. Although it is not mentioned in the symbols as given above, it is definitely an important symbol. A ring was given to Bassanio by Portia in Act III, Scene II, when Bassanio passes the casket test and is authorized to marry her. Portia gives Bassanio a ring stating that this ring signified their love and that she is handing over herself and her worldly possessions to Bassanio when she gave him that ring. However she lays the condition that the day that he loses, sells or gi... Read more

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