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Scenes 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5

Scene 3.3 - Street in Venice

In Venice, Shylock enters with an officer to arrest Antonio. Antonio begs for a chance to explain his position. Shylock calls him a fool for lending out money free of charge, and denounces him for insulting him in the past. Antonio has called him a dog, says Shylock, and dogs have fangs. Antonio asks again to speak. Shylock will not hear him - he insists, repeatedly, "I'll have my bond." He leaves, leaving Antonio with Solanio. Antonio says he knows why Shylock insists on revenge: because Antonio has so often saved those who Shylock was going to bankrupt. There is no hope, says Antonio, because the law is the law and should not make exceptions.

Scene 3.4 - Belmont

Lorenzo informs Portia that she's being very nobly patient, and that she'd be proud of herself if she knew how good the man who Bassanio is trying to save is. Portia remarks that if Antonio is Bassanio's dear friend, then she knows he would be dear to her too, and that she is only doing the duties of marriage by waiting for Bassanio. In fact, she says, she will stay with Nerissa at a local monastery until Bassanio returns. She says that Lorenzo and Jessica will be masters of her house in the meantime. They thank her, and depart. Portia tells her servant Balthasar to take a letter to her scholar friend in Padua, to get notes and clothing from him, and to send those to Venice. He leaves to do so, and Portia confides to Nerissa that she has a plan, which will require her and Nerissa to dress up as men - and Portia notes that she thinks she will look quite handsome and brave as man. They leave for Venice; Portia promises to tell Nerissa the entire plan on the way.

Scene 3.5 - Portia's garden in Belmont

Lancelot and Jessica enter. Jessica should hope, Lancelot says, somewhat playfully, that she is sinful and that she's not really Shylock's daughter, since she's treated him so cruelly. She remarks that in that case she'd merely be as unfaithful as her mother. Further, she is now a Christian, and so will be saved by her husband. Lancelot jests that all these conversions will drive up the price of pork. Lorenzo enters, jokingly accusing Lancelot of trying to steal his wife. He notes also, mockingly, that a Moorish woman is pregnant with Lancelot's child. A punning repartee between the two follows. Lancelot leaves, and Lorenzo asks Jessica how she likes Portia. She is, Jessica answers, a perfect woman. He's as good a husband, answers Lorenzo, as Portia is a wife. Jessica jestingly promises him a few compliments after dinner, and they depart together.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scene 1.1
Scenes 1.2 and 1.3
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scenes 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9
Scenes 3.1 and 3.2
Scenes 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5
Scenes 4.1 and 4.2
Scene 5.1


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