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The Merchant of Venice Act 5 Scene 1 Summary Workbook Answers
The Merchant of Venice Act 5 Scene 1 Summary
This is the most romantic scene of the play. There is peace and tranquility in Belmont in contrast to the legal atmosphere of Venice. In moonlit Belmont, Lorenzo and Jessica compare themselves to famous lovers from classical literature, like Troilus and Cressida, Pyramus and Thisbe, and Dido and Aeneas. Though there is a lot of romance in this scene, the scene is saved from being over- romantic when the couple starts teasing each other and their love prate is interrupted by the arrival of a messenger. The messenger comes with the news of the arrival of Portia and Nerissa from the monastery.
Launcelot comes with the news that Bassanio and Antonio will arrive the next morning. Lorenzo calls for music and both, Lorenzo and Jessica sit on the grassy bank beneath the stars. Lorenzo says that the movement of the heavenly orbits creates music, which the mortals cannot hear till they are alive. The musicians arrive and music is played. Lorenzo declares that the person who does not like music deserves the world’s worst cruelties and betrayals.
Portia and Nerissa arrive at Belmont and listening to the music Portia says that the music sounds even better because of the beautiful night and the candles that light up her estate enchant her. Portia believes that the worth of things largely depends upon the context in which they are experienced. Portia is greeted by Lorenzo and she requests him not to reveal the fact to her husband that she was away.
Trumpets sound and Portia greets Bassanio, Antonio and Gratiano who have arrived. Nerissa chastises Gratiano for breaking his promise and parting with the ring. Gratiano tells Nerissa that he had given the ring to the lawyer’s clerk as a fee. Portia confirms to Nerissa that her husband would have never done such a thing. Gratiano corrects her by saying that Bassanio has given his ring to the lawyer who saved Antonio. Portia is very upset and she tells her husband that she will never visit his bed again until he gets back his ring.
Bassanio pleads with Portia to understand that how important it was for him to part with his ring and that it was justified. Portia and Nerissa are not ready to accept anything and they argue that the rings have been given to other women. They say that as if their husbands have been infidel so will they be. Even they will part with their precious things and share their beds with other men. They then give their husbands other rings saying that these ones should be taken better care of.
Gratiano and Bassanio recognize the rings as those they had given to the lawyer and his clerk. Portia and Nerissa claim to have taken the rings from those men by being intimate with them. The two men feel sad at being cuckolded. Then Portia reveals that she was the lawyer and Nerissa her clerk. Antonio receives news that some of his ships have miraculously touched the port. Lorenzo is told that he will receive Shylock’s fortune. All the pairs rejoice in their own fortune.
The Merchant of Venice Act 5 Scene 1 Summary Word Meanings
- Troilus – Trojan hero
- Cressida – Troilus1 beloved
- This be – beloved of Pvramus
- o’ertrip – walkover
- ere himself – before she saw the lion
- dido – Aeneas’ beloved queen of Carthage
- willow – a branch of the willow tree a symbol of forsaken love
- wild – barren
- waft – waved
- medea – the enchantress who loved Jason
- renew – bring back to youth
- Aeson – father of Jason
- steal – run away and rob
- unthrift love – penniless lover
- vows of faith – oaths of loyalty
- shrew – quarrelsome woman
- slander – defame
- out-night you – beat you in this game of ‘in such a night’, stay about wander
- leave hollowing – stop shouting
- post – messenger
- become – suit
- touches – sounds
- patens – small pieces of shiny metal-the stars
- quiring – singing
- vesture of decay – clothing of mortality (the human body)
- diana – the classical goddess of the moon
- draw – attract
- spirits -mind
- wanton – playful
- unhandled – untrained
- fetching mad bounds – taking wild jumps
- feign – imagine
- naught – not
- stockfish – stubborn
- concord – harmony
- stratagems – plots
- erebus – a dark space in the Greek underworld
- substitute – deputy
- be by – is present
- his state empties itself – his fame and glory vanishes
- brook – stream
- bestows – gives
- attended – listened to
- wren – a song bird
- endymion – Goddess Diana’s lover
- daylight sick – unhealthy
- hold day – have daylight
- heavy husband – sorrowful husband
- sort all – decide everything
- acquitted of – repaid for
- breathing courtesy – verbal politeness
- paltry – petty
- posy – words engraved on a ring
- cutler’s poetry upon a knife – doggerel verse
- vehement – forceful
- scrubbed – stunted
- prating – talkative
- riveted – fixed
- aught – anything
- abate – reduce
- terms of zeal – determination
- suffer’d – allowed
- held up – saved
- beset – overcome
- argus – a monster with a hundred eyes
- to mine own protection – to look after my own honour
- mending of highways in summer – like highways do not need mending in summers similarly newly wedded
- women do not need lovers
- cuckolds – husbands whose wives are infidel
- manna – heavenly food
- inter’gatory – questions
- couching – sleeping.
The Merchant of Venice Act 5 Scene 1 Summary Questions and Answers
1. Lorenzo :
The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees.
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls.
And stgh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents.
Where Cressid lay that night.
Who is the other person present? Where are they right now? What has brought them here?
The other person present is Jessica, beloved of Lorenzo and the daughter of the Jewish moneylender Shylock. Right now, both are in the garden of Portia’s palace in Belmont. Shylock’s hatred for Christians did not allow Lorenzo and Jessica to get married therefore she fled from her father’s house with her Christian lover, Lorenzo.
In what mood is the speaker? What kind of a night is it?
Lorenzo is in a very romantic mood. The night is moon lit and the sky is full of stars. There is sweet wind blowing and the trees are dancing in the breeze. The night is soft and quiet.
The speaker speaks of Troilus and Cressida. Who are they? Why is he reminded of them?
Troilus was a Trojan warrior, who was separated from his beloved, Cressida, when she was taken into the enemy (Greek) camp. He is reminded of these two lovers because the night is romantic and apt for lovers to meet. The way he wants Jessica, even Troilus would be longing for Cressida.
Which other people are mentioned by the two people in conver¬sation? Give details.
The other couples mentioned by Lorenzo and Jessica are Pyramus and Thisbe, Dido and Aeneas, Medea and Jason. Thisbe, seeing the lion, ran and dropped her scarf. The lion mauled the scarf and seeing this bloody napkin Pyramus thought that Thisbe was dead and he stabbed himself. The queen of Carthage, Dido, was deserted by her lover, Aeneas, so she stood at the sea-bank waving a willow. Medea, the enchantress, loved Jason so she restored his father back to youth.
Who enters the scene, next? What news has he brought?
Portia’s servant Stephano, enters the scene. He brings the news of, the arrival of Portia, his mistress, along with Nerissa, before the break of day, stopping by at small shrines by the roadside praying for a happy married life.
2. Lorenzo :
The man that hath no music in himself,
Not is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fitfor treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus :
Let no such man be trusted.
According to the speaker, what does a person, who does not like music, deserve? Whom is he talking to?
According to the speaker, Lorenzo, the person who does not like music is fit for destruction and treason. He is a dull person and he is a person not to be trusted. His spirits are ‘dull as night and his affections dark as Erebus’. Lorenzo is in conversation with his beloved, Jessica.
The listener gives examples to prove the impact of music. What are they?
Lorenzo tells Jessica that even if, by chance, the music falls into the ears of a breed of untrained and youthful colts, which are jumping playfully here and there, bellowing and neighing, they will stand still at once. Their savage eyes will turn gentle. Lorenzo also talks about how Orpheus, a Greek musician, charmed even lifeless objects with his music.
Who enters the scene next? Where are they coming from, actually?
Portia and Nerissa enters the scene next. Though they claim that they are coming from a monastery nearby but they are actually coming from Venice after winning the case against Shylock in favor of Antonio.
What philosophy does one of these two people highlight? Explain clearly.
Portia believes that everything has its own worth, but nothing is good alone, without taking the circumstances into consideration. She says that in the presence of greater glories the smaller deeds are hidden. Like in the absence of a king his deputy shines but in the king’s presence his glory vanishes.
How would you describe this act in comparison to other acts of the play and why?
This act is by far a lighter act and there is happiness all around. The ending is happy which is required of a comedy. All the couples come together and everyone gets what they desire. In fact, there is a fairytale touch to the act. The serious atmosphere of the court room in the previous acts is a contrast to the jolly mood of this act.
The sad downfall of Shylock is contrasted with the happiness of all the couples. Lorenzo and Jessica put themselves in the league of classical lovers and talk of music and love. Portia and Nerissa play pranks on their husbands though things are controlled before they go too far. Everything falls into place miraculously and everyone is happy.
3. Portia :
You were to blame I must be plain with you
To part so slightly with your wife’s first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring and made him swear
Never to part with it:
Who is the speaker blaming and for what?
The speaker of the above lines is Portia. She is blaming Gratiano, Nerissa’s husband, for parting with the ring that his wife had given him. He had promised Nerissa that he would never part with the ring under any circumstances.
What is the speaker boasting about? What shocks the speaker?
The speaker, Portia, is boasting about the love and commitment that her husband has for her. She says that she can swear by anything that if it were her husband, he would have never parted with his ring under similar conditions. Portia is shocked to hear from Gratiano that Bassanio had ended up giving his ring to the lawyer who had saved Antonio’s life.
How does the speaker react to this revelation? What conditions does the speaker put down and for whom?
Portia is shocked and she can’t believe that Bassanio could part with such a precious gift as this one. Portia threatens her husband, Bassanio that she would not come to his bed till she sees the ring. She shows her anger and displeasure and tells Bassanio that she is sure that he has given the ring to a woman and not a man. She also threatens Bassanio that if that lawyer ever came near her she would become as liberal as Bassanio with the lawyer and give him her body, her husband’s bed and everything else.
Who is ‘my love’? What has this person done? How does this person justifies himself?
‘My love’ here refers to Bassanio, Portia’s husband. Bassanio has given his ring to the lawyer who saved Antonio. The ring had been given to Bassanio by Portia saying that he would never part with the ring, under any circumstances. Bassanio justifies himself by saying that had Portia known why, for whom and how unwillingly he had given away the ring she would never have been so displeased.
Who comes to the rescue of these people? What promise does he make?
On seeing the couples fight, Antonio feels that he is responsible for all this. He promises the two ladies that their husbands will never again break their promises which he swears by his soul. Antonio is the security.