Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary and Question Answers

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Act 2 Scene 5 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 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 5 Summary


In this scene, we find Shylock talking to Launcelot who has told Shylock that he is leaving his house and going to join Bassanio’s service. Shylock has changed his mind about going to dine with Bassanio and other Christians. He tells Launcelot that he will find the difference between a Jew and a Christian. He asks Jessica to close the door properly and keep the windows shut so that the sound of merry making or masquerade does not reach her. In the meantime, Launcelot has given to Jessica Lorenzo’s message. After Shylock leaves, Jessica says, “Farewell; and if my fortune be not crossed, I have a father, you a daughter lost.”

This scene gives us glimpses of Shylock, Jessica and Launcelot’s characters. Shylock’s obsession with money, Jessica’s planning and Launcelot’s action as a messenger for Jessica and Lorenzo. There is drama in the scene. Shylock’s indecision whether he should go to Bassanio’s party or not, Launcelot’s excitement regarding his new job and Jessica’s
elopement, news of masque and last words of Jessica, “I have a father, you a daughter lost” and Shylock’s premonition of “some bid lose all”, make this small scene full of drama and thus full of excitement


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

The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder, snail slow in profit, and he sleeps by day, more than the wild cat, drones hive not with me; Therefore, I part with him; and part with him to one that I would have him help to waste his borrowed purse. – Well, Jessica go in: perhaps I will return immediately: Do as I bid you; shut doors after you; Fast bind, fast find; A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. (Exit).

Ques. What is meant by the patch in the extract? What reasons does Launcelot give Jessica for parting with Shylock?
Ans. The word patch means a fool or Jester.
Shylock tells Jessica that Launcelot eats too much. He sleeps during the day. There is no profit in having him. So, he is parting with him. Moreover, he is going to work where his master (Bassanio) will have to spend on him the money which he himself has borrowed.

Ques. Whom does Shylock wish to be ruined? Why?
Ans. Shylock wishes Antonio to be ruined. If Antonio failed to pay the loan as per the signed bond, Antonio will have to pay the penalty, that is, a pound of his flesh.
Shylock wanted Antonio to be ruined because he hated him for being a kind and generous Christian and specially for lending money to people without interest.

Ques. What does Shylock mean by saying ‘drones hive not with me’?
Ans. Shylock means to say that lazy or idle people cannot stay with him. Launcelot is lazy and cannot serve him. He will let him go.

Ques. What is meant by ‘borrowed purse’? For what purpose was it borrowed?
Ans. ‘Borrowed purse’ means the money which is in the purse is not one’s own but lent by someone else.
Shylock refers here to Bassanio who had borrowed this money from Antonio, so that he could go to Belmont to see Portia, who was a beautiful heiress and whom he wanted to marry. He himself was a noble man but without any money. This money Bassanio borrowed would solve this purpose.

Ques. Why does Shylock ask Jessica to shut doors? Give the meaning of ‘Fast bind, fast find’.
Ans. Shylock asks Jessica to shut the door, so that no one may enter specially some Christian.
‘Fast bind fast find’ means he, who keeps a tight hold on what he has got, soon prospers.

Ques. Whom does Shylock call ‘patch’ in the beginning of his speech and why does he say, “the patch is kind enough”?
Ans. Shylock calls Launcelot ‘the patch’.
He says Launcelot is kind because Jessica tells him that Launcelot was saying
‘goodbye’ to her, while it was not so. He was giving Jessica Lorenzo’s message.

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

I will go before sir,
(Aside to Jessica) Mistress, look out at window for all this.
There will come a Christian by
Will be worth a Jewess eyes

What says that fool of Hager’s offspring, ha?

His words were “Farewell, mistress – nothing else.

Ques. To whom does Launcelot say, ‘I will go before, sir’?
Ans. Just before this extract, Shylock asked Launcelot to go before him and tell Bassanio that he (Shylock) was coming to dinner. Therefore, in reply, Launcelot says that he will go before him (Shylock).

Ques. What does he say to Jessica in ‘aside’?
Ans. Launcelot says to Jessica that she should be on the lookout because a Christian young man is going to pass by her window and it will be a pleasure for her to see him.

Ques. Explain: ‘will be worth a Jewess eye’.
Ans. Dear as Jewess eye was a common way of saying that something was very precious. Naturally, Lorenzo would be very precious to Jessica.

Ques. Whom does Shylock call Hagar’s off spring? Who was Hagar?
Ans. Shylock calls Launcelot ‘Hagar’s son’.
Hagar, was an Egyptian maid to Abraham’s wife Sara, his second wife. Her son’s name was Ishmael. According to Genesis, God commanded Abraham to expel Hagar and Ishmael. Although Abraham was reluctant to do so, he sent Ishmael away. Later Ishmael was considered as an outcast.

Ques. Shylock’s acceptance of Bassanio’s invitation for dinner and going there proves to be Shylock’s undoing. He lost all the possessions of this world, his wealth and his daughter. Do you agree?
Ans. Yes, it is perfectly true. As Shylock was not at home, Jessica, planning to elope with Lorenzo, was free to take all the jewels and money which were in the house. He may not have been able to stop Jessica from marrying Lorenzo, but at least his riches would have been saved if he was present at home.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 Summary