Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary and Question Answers

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Act 2 Scene 3 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary ICSE Class 10 notes provided below designed as per the Merchant of Venice book used in ICSE Class 10 English Books. You should refer to all notes provided here for Merchant of Venice Workbook which are really important and can help you to get better marks in ICSE Exams

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary


Shakespeare uses this brief scene:
1. To introduce another strand in the plot (about love and money like the main one)
2. To gather pace in the play
3. To isolate Shylock further – for now his (gentle) daughter is planning to run away from him along with his money and jewellery.

This brief scene provides the final piece of plot exposition. Launcelot is leaving Shylock’s house. Jessica is sorry to see him go. She gives him a letter for Lorenzo. She regrets being Shylock’s daughter.

In this scene, Shylock is in the role of a villain, though he is not present. In the development of Jessica’s character, we find a contrast to Portia, who is loyal to her father’s wishes.


1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

    I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:
    Our house is hell, and thou a merry devil,
    Didst rob if of some taste of tediousness,
    But fare thee well, there is a ducat for thee.
    And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see,
    Lorenzo, who is thy new master’s guest
    Give him this letter, do it secretly,
    And so farewell, I would not have my father
    See me in talk with thee.

Ques. Give reasons for Launcelot’s leaving Jessica’s house.
Ans. Launcelot left Jessica’s house because Shylock was cruel and very miserly. In Launcelot’s words he was ‘famished’ there. He feared if he lived there long, he will
also become a Jew. Shylock had a suspicious nature. He thought everyone was out to deceive him. The same he thought about Launcelot also.

Ques. Give the meaning of:
Ans. Our house is hell, and thou a merry devil didst rob it of some taste of tediousness. Jessica says that in her house there is no joy, no happiness, no laughter. So, it is like hell. Launcelot with his merry nature had brought some sunshine. Now he also wants to leave.

Ques. What errand does Jessica give to Launcelot? What precautions does she ask him to take?
Ans. Jessica asks Launcelot to give her letter to Lorenzo.
She also tells him to take precautions that no one else should know about it or see him giving it to Lorenzo.

Ques. Give a character sketch of Jessica highlighting the point of difference between her and Portia.
Ans. Jessica is beautiful and intelligent. She is impulsive but has feminine modesty. Although she elopes with Lorenzo, yet when Lorenzo asks her to be his torch bearer she says. “Must I hold a candle to my shame.”
Two main point of difference are there between Portia and Jessica: Jessica is not a loyal daughter while Portia is. She is willing to marry anyone giving in to her father’s wishes whether she wants to marry that person or not, while Jessica,
knowing that her father hates Christians, she elopes with a Christian and marries him. Moreover, Portia would not even dream of stealing from her father. Portia is not impulsive while Jessica is. These are the two main points of difference between them.

Ques. Why does Jessica say, “I would not have my father, see me and talk with thee?”
Ans. Shylock considered Lorenzo idle and good for nothing and he was a Christian also. Therefore, Shylock did not like him. He thought Lorenzo ate too much. He did not want his daughter to talk to a servant who was a Christian.

2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follows:

    Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
    To be ashamed to be my father’s daughter
    But though I am a daughter to his blood,
    I am not to his manners, O Lorenzo
    If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,
    Become a Christian and thy loving wife.

Ques. Who has just gone away? what does he say before departing?
Ans. Launcelot has just gone away.
He does not feel sorry leaving Shylock’s services, but his daughter is kind and compassionate. So, there are tears in his eyes and he says “Adieu: these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit.”

Ques. Why does Jessica regret being the daughter of Shylock. What is the heinous sin referred in the extract? Is it really a sin? Give reasons to justify your answer.
Ans. Due to lack of compassion and his rigid rules, Shylock has made her home life hell. That is why she regrets being his daughter. A daughter should be loyal to her parents. If she is not so, it is considered a sin.
But from a young girl’s point of view, she also has a right to have joy and her father’s love and compassion. If she is unhappy, it is natural to consider that she would have been better not having such a father. This feeling may be considered disloyalty but it is not a sin.

Ques. Give the meaning of:
But though I am a daughter to his blood
I am not to his manners.

Ans. Jessica says that she is her father’s daughter biologically, but she is not like him in nature and behaviour.

Ques. Which promise Lorenzo has to keep?
Ans. Lorenzo has promised to come and take her with him so that they can be married. This is the promise he
has to keep.

Ques. Describe the strife that Jessica is going to end.
Ans. The strife is the struggle in Jessica’s mind. She wants to marry Lorenzo because she loves him. To marry him, she has to disobey her father who hates Christians. These two contradictory elements create a strife in her mind. By eloping with Lorenzo and marrying him, she is going to end that strife.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 3 Summary