The Merchant of Venice Summary Act II

The prince of Morocco presents himself as a suitor and tries his luck with the caskets but fails. Meanwhile Shylock loses his servant Lancelot Gobo to Bassanio.  It seems Shakespeare is bent on subjecting Shylock to as many insults and indignities as possible including the nature of his own character. Shylocks daughter Jessica is ashamed of her father’s scrupulous dealings and plans on eloping with Lorenzo, Bassanio’s friend

While Shylock is away, Lorenzo is aided by Bassanio’s friends, Gratiano, Salerio and Solanio in eloping with Jessica who is dressed as a boy. Jessica has also taken a portion of Shylock’s money including his jewels as well. It is ironical that Jessica plans to live life as a Christian wife. The couple assisted by Antonio leave with Bassanio on his ship away from Venice.

Shylock enraged that his daughter has eloped with a Christian suspects Antonio’s hand in the elopement and complains to the Duke who reaches the dock too late. Shylock swears revenge on Antonio. At Portia’s residence Belmont, The prince of Aragon has arrived to try his hand at the caskets. Upon seeing the inscription on the gold casket which says “Who chooses me shall gain what many men desire” he chooses the silver casket instead which bears the inscription “Who chooses me shall get as much as he deserves” To his dismay, he finds it contains nothing more than a picture of a jester and a letter proclaiming his suit was unsuccessful.

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