Synopsis of Act 2 Scene 5 of The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Act 2 (Scene 5) Plot Summary with Word Meanings

The scene takes place on a street outside Shylock's house. This enables us to know more about Shylock and his thought processes. Shylock is about to go to Bassanio's party. Launcelot meets him. Shylock tells him that he should not revel in eating and sleeping in his new employment as he had done in his house. After repeated calls, Jessica appears. Her father tells her that he's going to attend Bassanio's party and gives her the keys of the house. He is not happy to go to the party but is doing so out of spite. He'll feed on the prodigal Christian. He is reluctant, as he had dream of money bags, which is a bad sign.

Launcelot informs Shylock that there is a masquerade arranged. This makes Shylock tell Jessica that she should close all the doors and windows of the house, as he does not want the house to be contaminated by the noise of revelry coming from the masque. She also should keep inside and not gaze on 'Christian fools with varnished faces'.

Launcelot gives Jessica, the message from Lorenzo. When he leaves, Shylock says that he is happy to see the clown go, as he'll be joining Bassanio's service and help wasting his borrowed money. After her father's departure, Jessica thinks of her elopement and bids farewell to her father in his absence saying that 'I have a father, you a daughter lost'.

Word - Meanings 

gormndize - overeat,
rend apparel out - overgrow the dress,
wont - accustomed,
bid forth - invited out,
prodigal - spendthrift,
look to - look after,
loath - reluctant,
ill a brewing towards my rest - something being plotted against my peace of mind,
reproach - meaning approach,
conspired together - arranged for-but there is dramatic irony here, as the audience already knows the plan for the elopement,
Black Monday - Monday following Easter,
Ash Wednesday - the first Wednesday after Lent,
squealing - sharp sound,
wry-necked - crooked necked,
clamber - climb up,
varnished - painted,
ears - windows,
shallow foppery - superficial and stupid showing off,
sirrah – fellow,
Hagar – slave woman who is referred to as Launcelot's ancestor,
patch - fool,
drone - a male bee that doesn't search for honey,
borrowed purse - borrowed money,
fast find - a proverb saying that if you are careful, you'll not lose anything.

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