List iconThe Merchant of VeniceList icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 3, scene 5

Synopsis:

Contents

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”…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 5
Enter Lancelet, the Clown, and Jessica.

LANCELET Yes, truly, for look you, the sins of the father
 are to be laid upon the children. Therefore I
 promise you I fear you. I was always plain with you,
 and so now I speak my agitation of the matter.
5 Therefore be o’ good cheer, for truly I think you
 are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
 you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope
 neither.
JESSICA And what hope is that, I pray thee?
LANCELET 10Marry, you may partly hope that your father
 got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
JESSICA That were a kind of bastard hope indeed; so
 the sins of my mother should be visited upon me!
LANCELET Truly, then, I fear you are damned both by
15 father and mother; thus when I shun Scylla your
 father, I fall into Charybdis your mother. Well, you
 are gone both ways.
JESSICA I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made
 me a Christian.
LANCELET 20Truly the more to blame he! We were Christians
 enow before, e’en as many as could well live
 one by another. This making of Christians will
 raise the price of hogs. If we grow all to be pork
 eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the
25 coals for money.

Enter Lorenzo.


135
The Merchant of Venice
ACT 3. SC. 5

JESSICA I’ll tell my husband, Lancelet, what you say.
 Here he comes.
LORENZO I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Lancelet,
 if you thus get my wife into corners!
JESSICA 30Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo. Lancelet
 and I are out. He tells me flatly there’s no mercy for
 me in heaven because I am a Jew’s daughter; and
 he says you are no good member of the commonwealth,
 for in converting Jews to Christians you
35 raise the price of pork.
LORENZO I shall answer that better to the commonwealth
 than you can the getting up of the Negro’s
 belly! The Moor is with child by you, Lancelet.
LANCELET It is much that the Moor should be more
40 than reason; but if she be less than an honest
 woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.
LORENZO How every fool can play upon the word! I
 think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into
 silence, and discourse grow commendable in none
45 only but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for
 dinner.
LANCELET That is done, sir. They have all stomachs.
LORENZO Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you!
 Then bid them prepare dinner.
LANCELET 50That is done too, sir, only “cover” is the
 word.
LORENZO Will you cover, then, sir?
LANCELET Not so, sir, neither! I know my duty.
LORENZO Yet more quarreling with occasion! Wilt
55 thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an
 instant? I pray thee understand a plain man in his
 plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the
 table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to
 dinner.
LANCELET 60For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for
 the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in

137
The Merchant of Venice
ACT 3. SC. 5

 to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humors and conceits
 shall govern.Lancelet exits.
LORENZO 
 O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
65 The fool hath planted in his memory
 An army of good words, and I do know
 A many fools that stand in better place,
 Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word
 Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica?
70 And now, good sweet, say thy opinion
 How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?
JESSICA 
 Past all expressing. It is very meet
 The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,
 For having such a blessing in his lady
75 He finds the joys of heaven here on Earth,
 And if on Earth he do not merit it,
 In reason he should never come to heaven.
 Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
 And on the wager lay two earthly women,
80 And Portia one, there must be something else
 Pawned with the other, for the poor rude world
 Hath not her fellow.
LORENZO  Even such a husband
 Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
JESSICA 
85 Nay, but ask my opinion too of that!
LORENZO 
 I will anon. First let us go to dinner.
JESSICA 
 Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach!
LORENZO 
 No, pray thee, let it serve for table talk.
 Then howsome’er thou speak’st, ’mong other things
90 I shall digest it.
JESSICA  Well, I’ll set you forth.
They exit.