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The Merchant of Venice


ACT II SCENE IIIThe same. A room in SHYLOCK’S house.
JESSICAI am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
But fare thee well, there is a ducat for thee:
And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see
Lorenzo, who is thy new master’s guest:
Give him this letter; do it secretly;
And so farewell: I would not have my father
See me in talk with thee.
LAUNCELOTAdieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful10
pagan, most sweet Jew! if a Christian did not play
the knave and get thee, I am much deceived. But,
adieu: these foolish drops do something drown my
manly spirit: adieu.
JESSICAFarewell, good Launcelot.
[Exit Launcelot]
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be ashamed to be my father’s child!
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,20
Become a Christian and thy loving wife.

Next: The Merchant of Venice, Act 2, Scene 4


Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 2
From The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co.

2. Our house is hell. Jessica is distraught between her love for Lorenzo and her religion and duty to her father, hence the extravagance of her words.

5. soon at supper. Compare Richard III, iv. 3. 31.

10. tears exhibit my tongue, tears show what my tongue would express but for them.

16. what heinous sin, i.e. sinfulness.

19. Lorenzo. The story of Jessica’s elopement is apparently of Shakespeare’s own invention. Its purpose is plainly to offer strong additional reasons, – the stealing of his daughter and his ducats by another Christian, – for Shylock’s implacability as to Antonio and his bond.


How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Felix E. Schelling. New York: American Book Co., 1903.