Synopsis of Act 3 Scene 5 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Act 3 (Scene 5) Plot Summary with Word Meanings

This scene takes place in the garden of Portia's house. The scene opens with a humorous dialogue of Launcelot for the amusement of the groundlings. Launcelot says that Jessica will be damned for her father's sins. Jessica replies she will be saved because of the virtues of Lorenzo and also because she has converted into Christianity. Launcelot teases her by saying that the Christian community will accuse her of doing wrong to them and they would increase the price of pork. At this time Lorenzo enters and says that he is getting jealous of Launcelot for talking so much to his wife by getting her 'into corners'. He tells him to go inside and see that dinner is prepared.

Lorenzo asks Jessica's opinion about Portia. She praises Portia, stating that she has no one even equal to her on this earth. Lorenzo says that the same thing can be said about him. Jessica replies that they can talk about it over dinner. Lorenzo agrees that by talking about such romantic things they will be able to digest the dinner better.


laid upon - revenged upon,
plain - honest,
agitation - wrongly used for cogitation which means thought,
damned - fated to go to Hell,
enow - enough,
rasher – slice of bacon,
are out - quarreled,
commonwealth - Christian community,
wit-snapper - comedian,
cover - using it to mean lay the table,
quarrelling with the occasion - disputing whether the word is suitable to the context,
discretion - ability to distinguish words,
army - a collection,
garnished - supplied with words,
tricksy word - a word that allows a trick to be played (punning),
defy the matter - confuse with their meanings,
past all expressing - beyond words,
meet - necessary,
upright - honorable,
there must be something pawned - If one compares Portia with another human something should be added to the other balance to make the worth even,
rude world – this qualities or put you in your place.

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