Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary and Question Answers

Study Material

Act 3 Scene 5 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 3 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 3 Scene 5 Summary


This scene takes place in Portia’s garden. Jessica, Launcelot and Lorenzo are there.
Launcelot’s presence adds to the element of humour in the play. He tells Jessica that she
would be damned for her father’s sins. Jessica contradicts Launcelot by saying that now she is
a Christian, not a Jew. He again says now pork will be costlier because so many are becoming
converts. Lorenzo and Jessica are a couple who are really happy to be together. It creates a
pleasing sensation all over the atmosphere. Jessica has a very high opinion of Portia. It
reflects on Portia’s virtues as much as on Jessica’s ability to recognize them.


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

    Truly, the more to blame he; we were Christian enow before;
    e’en as many as could well live, one by another. This making of Christiana will raise the price of hogs: if we grew
    all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

(i) Where is Launcelot? What is he discussing and with whom?
Launcelot is in Portia’s home in Belmont.
He is discussing with Jessica about the price of pork going up with her conversion.

(ii) Who is to be blamed more and for what reason?
Lorenzo, Jessica’s husband is to be blamed more because he has made Jessica Christian by marrying her and thus increased the number of Christians.

(iii) How would Jessica’s becoming a Christian affect the price of hogs?
Jews do not eat pork while Christians do. If Jessica, who was a Jew, becomes a Christian she will also eat pork while she did not take it before. So, the number of pork-eaters will increase and the price of hog will also increase.

(iv) What did Launcelot say earlier about the damnation of Jessica? How does Jessica hope to escape damnation?
Launcelot has said earlier that Jessica is a Jew’s daughter, her mother was also a Jew, so her damnation is a certainty.
But Jessica says that her husband, who is a Christian will save her from damnation.

(v) Explain the conflict of religions referred to in the scene.
Christians and Jews had always a conflict of religion. Their religions were different and Christians thought the Jews to be Godless and the Jews called Christians damned pork eaters. In short, one considered the other to be damned. It is crystal clear from their conversation and behaviour.

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

    Past all expressing, it is very meet.
    The lord Bassanio live an upright life;
    For, having such a blessing in his lady,
    He finds the joys of heaven here on earth,
    And if on earth he do not mean it, then
    I reason he should never come to heaven.

(i) What is past of expressing? Why does Jessica suggest Bassanio should lead an upright life?
Lorenzo has asked Jessica how she liked Portia. In reply she, praising Portia, says that she is above expression i.e. she is so good that she is a blessing in disguise.
Lord Bassanio has got such a blessing in his wife that he should lead an upright life, otherwise he will not be legible
for heaven.

(ii) What has Lorenzo said earlier about Launcelot’s skill in using words?
Lorenzo has said earlier about Launcelot’s skill in using words that there are people who select fine and impressive words and use them, so that the listener may be impressed. Same is with Launcelot. Many times, by his wit and use of fancy words he impresses the listeners.

(iii) What impression does Jessica have upon audience?
Jessica is intelligent, beautiful and witty, moreover, she has the quality of praising and appreciating other’s qualities as she has a very high opinion of Portia’s blessed virtues. In this aspect, Jessica herself is also not lacking in virtue.

(iv) Give a brief character sketch of Launcelot in this scene.
In this scene, Launcelot proves to be a true jester of Shakespearean age. He uses examples of legends like that of Scylla and Charybdis. Then he gives foolish arguments if too many people turn Christians, there won’t be enough pork to go around and scarcity will bring soaring prices. In a nutshell, his character can be summed up in Jessica’s words who call him a ‘merry devil’ – naughty and creates humour.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 5 Summary