List iconThe Merchant of Venice:
Act 2, scene 4
List icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 2, scene 4



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 4
Enter Gratiano, Lorenzo, Salarino, and Solanio.

 Nay, we will slink away in supper time,
 Disguise us at my lodging, and return
 All in an hour.
 We have not made good preparation.
5 We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.
 ’Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered,
 And better in my mind not undertook.
 ’Tis now but four o’clock. We have two hours
 To furnish us.

Enter Lancelet.

10 Friend Lancelet, what’s the news?
LANCELET An it shall please you to break up this, it
 shall seem to signify.Handing him Jessica’s letter.
 I know the hand; in faith, ’tis a fair hand,
 And whiter than the paper it writ on
15 Is the fair hand that writ.
GRATIANO  Love news, in faith!

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 2. SC. 4

LANCELET By your leave, sir.
LORENZO Whither goest thou?
LANCELET Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to
20 sup tonight with my new master the Christian.
 Hold here, take this. Giving him money. Tell gentle
 I will not fail her. Speak it privately.
Lancelet exits.
 Go, gentlemen,
25 Will you prepare you for this masque tonight?
 I am provided of a torchbearer.
 Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
 And so will I.
LORENZO  Meet me and Gratiano
30 At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.
SALARINO ’Tis good we do so.
Salarino and Solanio exit.
 Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
 I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
 How I shall take her from her father’s house,
35 What gold and jewels she is furnished with,
 What page’s suit she hath in readiness.
 If e’er the Jew her father come to heaven,
 It will be for his gentle daughter’s sake;
 And never dare misfortune cross her foot
40 Unless she do it under this excuse,
 That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
 Come, go with me. Peruse this as thou goest;
Handing him the letter.
 Fair Jessica shall be my torchbearer.
They exit.