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

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

The scene shifts to Venice and it offers a humorous relief. Launcelot Gobo, the clown, dominates this scene. As the scene opens, the clown is debating with himself whether to continue with Shylock or not. A 'fiend' urges him to leave his present employment. His conscience urges him to be loyal to his master and stick on. Ultimately, he decides to run away.

The comic situation builds up when Old Gobo makes his appearance. The blind father does not recognize his son at first. He seeks direction to Shylock's house without realizing that the dim image before him is his son. Launcelot gives him crazy directions where he would meet 'Master Launcelot'. Continuing the joke, he tells old gobo that Master Launcelot is dead. After much clowning and double talk, he finally reveals his identity and kneels before his father for blessings.

Bassanio enters. The two Gobos intimate him of the plan of Launcelot leaving the service of Shylock. Bassanio is ready to employ him. He orders for new livery for Launcelot. Gratiano enters, seeking to go to Belmont with Bassanio. Bassanio agrees thinking that Gratiano will curb his high spirits; Gratiano suggests revelry before they leave and Bassanio consents. All look forward to festivity.


fiend - devil, 
heed - care, 
aforesaid - said before, 
scorn - contemptuous, 
pack - go, 
hanging-heart - clinging to heart, 
budge - move, 
ruled - guided, 
reverence - respect, 
incarnation - in human form, 
sand-blind - half blind, 
high-gravel blind - almost completely blind, 
marry - by the Virgin Mary, 
sonties - saints, 
raise the waters - bring tears, 
ergo – therefore, 
the sisters three - the sisters of fates or destinies, 
staff - support, 
cudgel – short stick for support, 
hovel post - main support of a poor building, 
fill-horse - cart horse, 
famished - starved, 
liveries – uniforms, 
hasted - speeded up, 
at the farthest - at the latest, 
anon - at once, 
gramerci - many thanks, 
infection - wrong word used for affection, 
cater-cousins - good friends, 
fructify - wrongly used for notify, 
suit - request, 
impertinent - relevant, 
defect - used for effect, 
preferment - promotion, 
guarded - more ornamented, 
table - palm, 
trifle - unimportant, 
maids - unmarried girls, 
peril - danger, 
wench - lady, 
besto'wd - placed in the boat, 
hie - hurry, 
yonder - over there, 
rude - unmannerly, 
bold - loud, 
parts - qualities, 
pray – request, 
allay – moderate, 
skipping - playful, 
misconstrued - misunderstood, 
wear - carry, 
demurely - grave, 
civility - good manners, 
bearing - conduct, 
gauge - judge, 
suit of mirth - party dress or amusing manner, 
purpose - intend, 
merriment - enjoyment

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