Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scene 2.1 - Belmont
Trumpets sound, and the Prince of Morocco, a Moor, enters with his servants. Morocco asks Portia to overlook his dark complexion - she responds that she does not choose by looks alone and that, in any case, the choice is not hers. Despite that, she remarks, he seems to be the best suitor she's seen so far. Announcing his courage and fame, Morocco asks to be led to the caskets for the lottery. Portia warns him that, if he chooses wrongly, he will never be allowed to propose marriage to her again. Morocco accepts, and Portia says he can attempt the lottery, after dinner.
Scene 2.2 - Venice
In Venice, a clown named Lancelot Gobbo takes the stage, trying to decide whether or not to run away from his Jewish master, who will turn out to be Shylock. He hedges, arguing that he thinks the Jew is a devil, but nonetheless his conscience tells him not to run away. Finally he decides to run, and at that moment, a man named Old Gobbo enters, asking for directions to the Jew's. Lancelot realizes this is his father, though the old man, almost blind, doesn't know that Lancelot is his son. Old Gobbo mentions that he is going to see his son, Lancelot. At that point, Lancelot announces that he's the man's son - Old Gobbo doesn't believe him, but is finally convinced. He remarks that he has a gift for the Jew his master - Lancelot tells him to give the gift to his new master: Bassanio.
Bassanio then enters, and instructs Lancelot to tell the Jew that he's quitting and coming to work for Bassanio. Lancelot and his father leave to do so, and Graziano enters. Graziano insists that he must go to Belmont with Bassanio. Bassanio says he's welcome, but that he cannot act as wild as he usually does. Graziano promises to be solemn, and the friends depart, promising to meet again soon.
Scene 2.3 - Shylock's house in Venice
Jessica, Shylock's daughter, greets Lancelot at their house. She remarks that she will be sorry to see him go, but gives him a letter to give to Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio's. Lancelot takes the letter and leaves. Jessica, alone on stage, announces her shame and guilt for tricking her father. She ends with the hope that, if Lorenzo keeps his promise, she'll soon become a Christian and his wife.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
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