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Summary Act 2

SCENE 1 - Act 2 begins in Belmont at Portia's house with the Prince of Morocco, Portia, Nerissa, and others in attendance. Morocco shows pride in his complexion, and requests that Portia approve of his offer of marriage. Portia replies that the choice is not her but the man must choose the correct box. The Prince is happy to take that chance, even after Portia warns him that if he chooses incorrectly he must never ask for another women's hand in marriage again.

SCENE 2 -This scene takes us back to a street on Venice. Present are Launcelot, Shylock's servant and then old Gobbo enters the scene.

The scene opens with Launcelot trying to decide if he should run away from his master Shylock. His conscience tells him to stay while his "fiend" side tells him to run. He decides to run because Shylock is like a devil.

An old man walks to Launcelot looking for directions to Shylock's house. Launcelot lets us know this is his father and he does not recognize him due to impaired sight. He first tries to trick Gobbo by giving him confusing directions. Then Launcelot tells Gobbo that his son has died. Finally, he lets Gobbo know that indeed he is Launcelot and he plans to run away from Shylock.

Bassanio, Leonardo, and some followers come onto the scene. Bassanio is giving directions to a servant regarding a party he is holding. Launcelot and Gobbo approach Bassanio to ask for employment. It takes awhile to get the message out as both Launcelot and Gobbo have trouble getting their message out. Finally the request gets through and Launcelot gets the job and leaves to celebrate.

Gratiano enters the scene and asks Leonardo where to find Bassanio. Leonardo gives him that information and then leaves the scene. Gratiano requests to accompany Bassanio to Belmont. Bassanio grants the request but only after Gratiano promises to behave himself.

SCENE 3- We are still in Venice, but have moved to Shylock's house with Jessica and Launcelot.

Jessica says goodbye to Launcelot as he leaves to begin employment with Bassanio. She asks him to deliver a message to Lorenzo. After Launcelot leaves, Jessica reveals that she is ashamed of her father and plans to become a Christian and marry Lorenzo.

SCENE 4- This scene is still in Venice and back on a street. Gratiano, Lorenzo, Salarino, and Salanio walk onto the scene.

Lorenzo and his friends are discussing Lorenzo plans to elope with Jessica. Shylock will be attending Bassanio's feast and so will not be at home. Launcelot comes in with Jessica's letter which details how Lorenzo should take her from Shylock's house and she will be dressed as a page wearing her gold and jewelry.

SCENE 5- This scene opens in front of Shylock's house with Launcelot and Shylock.

Shylock has been told that Launcelot is leaving to work for Bassanio. Shylock calls to Jessica and lets her know that he will be going to dinner at Bassanio's and she must stay home and keep the house locked. As Launcelot leaves he quietly tells Jessica to watch out for Lorenzo this evening. Shylock leaves reminding Jessica again to lock the doors while he is gone.

SCENE 6- We are still on a street near Shylock's house now with Gratiano and Salerio. Gratiano and Salerio are waiting for Lorenzo outside Shylock's house. Lorenzo shows up a bit late and Jessica calls down asking who is there. Lorenzo proclaims his love for Jessica and she throws down a jewelry casket. She is embarrassed to be dressed as a boy but comes down. As they leave Antonio comes up looking for Gratiano. The wind has turned and so the ship must leave immediately and the party has been canceled. Gratiano is eager to leave and they all set off.

SCENE 7- This scene is back in Belmont, Portia and the Prince of Morocco enters a room in Portia's house.

Portia is asking the Prince to make his choice of caskets. He studies the inscriptions on each and how he will know if he chooses correctly. Portia lets him know that her picture will be in one of the caskets. The three inscriptions are: gold-"Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire;" silver "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves;" and lead "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath." The Prince decides to open the gold because all desire Portia and she is worth the gold. He finds a scroll in the golden casket that reminds him that "all that glitters is not gold." He leaves and Portia is happy to see him go.

SCENE 8- This scene takes place in Venice on a street and opens with Salerio and Salanio conversing about Shylock.

They are making fun of Shylock's discovery of the disappearance of his daughter Jessica. Shylock had been in the streets crying about his missing money and daughter. Salerio and Salanio become concerned that Shylocks anger will be taken out on Antonio and hope that his ships all come in safely.

SCENE 9- Back at Portia's house in Belmont Nerissa with a Servitor as the Prince of Arragon, Portia, and their trains arrive.

Portia explains the choice of the caskets to the Prince. He readily accepts the terms and chooses the silver because he feels that he deserves Portia. Inside the silver box is a picture of a fool's head and a note calling him a fool. The prince leaves and Portia questions the wisdom of her suitors. A servant enters looking for Portia. He announces the arrival of a messenger for another suitor. Nerissa is hopeful that the Venetian suitor is Bassanio.

William Shakespeare