Study Guide

The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scene 8

By William Shakespeare

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Act 2, Scene 8

Read the full text of The Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 8 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Salerio and Solanio are, yet again, hanging about the streets of Venice. They gossip about the latest news: Bassanio's ship has sailed with Graziano but not Lorenzo. Shylock found his daughter had disappeared and raised the Duke of Venice from his sleep to find her. They didn't locate Jessica, but the Duke did find out that she was last seen with Lorenzo in a gondola filled with love (and Shylock's money).
  • Solanio reports that Shylock's reaction was strange—he lamented his lost ducats intermittently with his lost daughter, both stolen by a Christian: "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!" and so on.
  • He was mocked by all the boys in Venice, who trailed behind him crying of ducats and daughters. Solanio says Antonio better repay Shylock on time or he'll definitely have to pay. Shylock is going to want to find someone to take his anger out on.
  • Speaking of Antonio, Salerio announces that he recently got some bad news from a Frenchman, who told of an Italian ship that was wrecked between France and England. Salerio sure hopes it wasn't one of Antonio's ships. The men reason back and forth over whether they should tell Antonio the potentially disastrous news.
  • Salerio credits Antonio with being one of the nicest guys on the block, and he tells of how he watched Antonio and Bassanio part as the latter was on his way to Belmont. Antonio told Bassanio not to rush but to stay as long as he needed to win Portia. Aw. In the meantime, Antonio counseled Bassanio not to worry about his (Antonio's) debt with Shylock. Instead, he should be happy and think of love and courtship.
  • And he had a tear in his eye as they shook hands. Aw. 
  • They set off to try to cheer Antonio up.

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