Synopsis of Act 3 Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Act 3 (Scene 1) Plot Summary with Word Meanings

Salerio and Solanio inform the audience about the recent developments. We learn that Antonio has suffered heavy losses and it is doubtful that he would be able to pay his creditors. One of his ships has been wrecked on the south coast of England. The friends are worried about the loss. As they talk about the matter, Shylock approaches and accuses them of helping Jessica escape.

Shylock expresses his anger by talking about Antonio: 'Let him look to his bond'. He is determined to take Antonio's flesh. His anger stems from the fact Antonio has disgraced him, taken business away from him. Laughed at his losses, mocked at his gains, scorned his nation, cooled his friends and heated up his enemies, just because he is a Jew. 'In his anguish he asks, 'Hath not a Jew eyes, hands, organs, dimensions sense and passions like Christians. If they poison Jews, don't they die? Since a Christian takes revenge against a Jew, he will take revenge against Christians. Just then, a servant enters and informs Antonio would like to see Salerio and Solanio in his house.

Tubal, a friend of Shylock makes his appearance. He has heard about Jessica being in Genoa, but couldn't meet her in person. Shylock begins to rate his fortune. He calls his daughter a traitor to her father and religion. She has escaped with a fortune another fortune is spent in trying to trace her. Tubal tries to comfort him by saying that other men also suffer from bad fortune. He has heard that another ship of Antonio has been lost. Shylock feels happy. He asks his friend to engage a lawyer, a fortnight before the bond is ripe for extraction.


yet it lives there - there is still a rumour,
unchecked - undenied,
narrow seas - English Channel,
flat - sandbank,
carcasses – ruined parts or wrecks,
tall - majestic,
knapped - chewed,
slips of prolixity - lapses into boring speeches,
flight - escape,
fledged - ready to fly,
complexion - nature,
dam - mother,
red wine- cheap wine,
Rhenish wine - expensive white wine,
match - bargain,
prodigal – waster,
smug - self-satisfied,
mart – Rialto, stock exchange,
wont - accustomed,
usurer - one who lends money for high interest,
forfeit - fails to pay in time,
feed - satisfy,
disgraced - humiliated,
scorned - despised,
heated - incited,
dimensions - limbs,
sufferance - punishment,
hearsed - laid in her coffin,
lights on my shoulders - falls on his self,
Tripoli's - a port at Lebanon,
four score - eighty,
divers - several,
plague - trouble,
Leah - Shylock's wife,
fee me - engage a lawyer for me,
bespeak - speak before,
synagogue - place of worship of Jews

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