List iconThe Merchant of VeniceList icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 2, scene 1

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court…

Act 1, scene 1

Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has invested all his wealth in trading expeditions. Bassanio, his friend and kinsman, asks him for…

Act 1, scene 2

At Portia’s estate of Belmont, Portia and Nerissa talk over Portia’s frustration at being unable to choose her own husband….

Act 1, scene 3

In Venice Bassanio goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow, in Antonio’s name, 3,000 ducats. Shylock hates Antonio but…

Act 2, scene 1

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco greets Portia, who tells him the terms of the contest: if he chooses the…

Act 2, scene 2

In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of…

Act 2, scene 3

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, says good-bye to Lancelet and gives him a letter for Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio. In a…

Act 2, scene 4

Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solanio, and Salarino try to arrange a masque for Bassanio’s dinner that night. Lancelet brings Lorenzo Jessica’s letter…

Act 2, scene 5

Lancelet brings Shylock an invitation to dinner at Bassanio’s. Shylock grudgingly accepts and commands Jessica to guard their house carefully….

Act 2, scene 6

Gratiano and Salarino wait for Lorenzo near Shylock’s house. As soon as Lorenzo arrives, he calls Jessica, who throws him…

Act 2, scene 7

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one…

Act 2, scene 8

In Venice Solanio and Salarino discuss the latest news: Shylock’s torment over the loss of his daughter and the treasures…

Act 2, scene 9

At Belmont the Prince of Arragon attempts to win Portia by choosing the silver chest, but finds in it the…

Act 3, scene 1

In Venice Solanio and Salarino have learned that the Italian ship wrecked in the English Channel was Antonio’s. Shylock enters…

Act 3, scene 2

Portia advises Bassanio to postpone choosing for fear he should make the wrong choice. Bassanio declares himself unable to live…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio seeks out Shylock in an effort to get the moneylender to listen to him. But Shylock insists that the…

Act 3, scene 4

Portia entrusts the management of her household to Lorenzo and pretends to leave with Nerissa for a house of an…

Act 3, scene 5

Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.

Act 4, scene 1

In court at Venice, Shylock demands that the terms of his bond be fulfilled. Portia enters as a doctor of…

Act 4, scene 2

Gratiano gives the disguised Portia Bassanio’s ring. Nerissa decides to try to obtain from Gratiano the ring that she had…

Act 5, scene 1

Portia and Nerissa return to Belmont. When Bassanio and Gratiano also return, bringing Antonio with them, Portia and Nerissa “discover”…

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Scene 1
Enter the Prince of Morocco, a tawny Moor all in
white, and three or four followers accordingly, with
Portia, Nerissa, and their train.


MOROCCO 
 Mislike me not for my complexion,
 The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
 To whom I am a neighbor and near bred.
 Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
5 Where Phoebus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles,
 And let us make incision for your love
 To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
 I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
 Hath feared the valiant; by my love I swear
10 The best regarded virgins of our clime
 Have loved it too. I would not change this hue
 Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
PORTIA 
 In terms of choice I am not solely led
 By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes;
15 Besides, the lott’ry of my destiny
 Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
 But if my father had not scanted me
 And hedged me by his wit to yield myself
 His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
43

45
The Merchant of Venice
ACT 2. SC. 1

20 Yourself, renownèd prince, then stood as fair
 As any comer I have looked on yet
 For my affection.
MOROCCO  Even for that I thank you.
 Therefore I pray you lead me to the caskets
25 To try my fortune. By this scimitar
 That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince,
 That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
 I would o’erstare the sternest eyes that look,
 Outbrave the heart most daring on the Earth,
30 Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
 Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
 To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
 If Hercules and Lychas play at dice
 Which is the better man, the greater throw
35 May turn by fortune from the weaker hand;
 So is Alcides beaten by his page,
 And so may I, blind Fortune leading me,
 Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
 And die with grieving.
PORTIA 40 You must take your chance
 And either not attempt to choose at all
 Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
 Never to speak to lady afterward
 In way of marriage. Therefore be advised.
MOROCCO 
45 Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.
PORTIA 
 First, forward to the temple. After dinner
 Your hazard shall be made.
MOROCCO  Good fortune then,
 To make me blest—or cursed’st among men!
They exit.