Study Guide

The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scene 6

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Act 2, Scene 6

Read the full text of The Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 6 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Graziano and Salerio wait outside Shylock's house for Lorenzo to show up. Graziano notes that he should be early, since he is moved by love, which makes time run fast. 
  • Graziano, ever a cynic, compares love to a banquet: you're famished when you first sit down at the table, but you're never hungry when you get up. In other words, once lovers have had their "fill" of each other, their desire isn't as strong as it once was.
  • Graziano then quips that young men newly in love are like rich ships embarking on a new and exciting sea journey, but whose sails soon become ragged when they're tossed around the ocean by violent winds. (Translation: Love is rough and things between Jessica and Lorenzo will probably end badly.) 
  • Lorenzo shows up just then, claiming it was his business that made him late. Then Lorenzo channels Romeo and calls up to his girl.
  • Lorenzo and Jessica exchange a few sweet (if a little sappy) words.  
  • Jessica passes down a chest of money and says she's ashamed of being dressed like a boy.
  • Lorenzo says she looks hot in her disguise and tells her to come down and hold the lamp since she's supposed to pretend she's a hired torchbearer. 
  • Jessica says, "Hang on. Let me lock the door real quick and stuff some more of my dad's gold in my shirt."
  • Lorenzo takes her stalling as an opportunity to detail what he loves about her, namely her wisdom, beauty, and honesty. Jessica finally comes downstairs and leaves with Lorenzo and Salerio.
  • Graziano is left behind, ever convenient for Antonio to stumble upon as he wanders in himself at that very moment, wondering where all of his buddies have gone. 
  • Antonio says everyone's waiting for Gratiano. There's been a change of plans. There will be no masque tonight. Instead, they're all headed for Belmont so Bassanio can land himself a rich wife.

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