Synopsis of Act 2 Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Act 2 (Scene 1) Plot Summary with Word Meanings

This scene gives a comic relief to its audiences. After the intense conversation between Shylock and Antonio, in Venice, the audience gets transported to Belmont, where they are treated with a comic scene. The scene begins with the entry of Prince of Morocco. Portia, Nerissa and other ladies in waiting, are already present. For the first time, the audience is being introduced to one of Portia's suitors.

The prince tells Portia not to dislike him because of his complexion. His blood is as red as that of any other suitor. He boasts that many men fear him and many virgins love him.

Portia assures him that he is as 'fair' as any of his suitors and he will get an equal chance as everything depends on the lottery. He is skilled in the use of the sword. He slew the king of Persia and has thrice defeated Turkey's Sultan. He is brave enough to confront a she-bear, even if her cubs were taken away from her, and can face a lion on his way to search for a prey. The Prince doubts whether the bad fortune may make him choose the wrong casket and Portia may go to one not worthy as himself.

Portia repeats the terms of her father's will and tells him he'll have to stick to the condition of never marrying if he chooses the wrong casket, to which the Prince agrees.


mislike - dislike,
shadow'd livery - dark uniform,
burnish'd - burning bright,
near bred - closely related,
fairest - most handsome,
Phoebus - Sun God,
thaws - melts,
incision - cut,
valiant - brave,
hue - colour,
clime - climate,
nice direction - influence,
destiny - luck,
bars – forbids,
scanted - restricted,
scimitar - short sword,
outstare – look defiantly into the eyes,
Hercules - superman of Greek mythology,
the greater throw - winning throw,
Alicides - another name for Hercules,
blind fortune - reference to goddess fortune who is blind folded,
grieving - feeling acutely sad,
be advis'd - be warned,
chance - trial,
hazard - gamble,

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