Act 2 : Scene 1 Summary – The Merchant of Venice

The Moroccan Prince

At the ending of Act 1, the arrival of the Moroccan Prince is announced. He enters Portia’s house with a lot of pomp and show. He is dark in colour and says that he owes this complexion to the Sun, of whom he is a ‘neighbour’. However, he claims that he is more courageous than any of the men from the North. He says that brave men fear him and ladies want him but he cannot change his complexion. The only things that he wants to change are Portia’s thoughts about him.

Portia is bound by the will

Portia listens to the Prince and says that she is not entirely influenced by the attractive looks which please a maiden’s eyes. The lottery that her father has forged bars her from choosing a husband of her choice. Hence, the Moroccan Prince stands a fair chance as any of the other suitors that have come seeking Portia’s affection.

Luck may favour the unworthy

The Prince knows that everything depends on chance here. However, he says that he is very brave as he has beaten princes and won many battles. He can take away he cubs of a she-bear and can mock the lion out on a hunt. But his bravery and fearlessness is not going to help him in winning Portia. He laments that even Hercules (the world’s strongest man according to Greek mythology) would be beaten by his servant in a game of chance. He mourns that blind fortune may lead him to choose the wrong casket and then right casket would be chosen by some unworthy one. He would die grieving at such a happening.

The final terms of the lottery

Portia then tells the Prince that he must take his chance or not attempt to choose at all. However, if he chooses wrongly, not only does he lose the chance of getting Portia, he must never talk of marriage to another woman again. The Prince is not deterred by this and wants to take his chance. Portia guides him to the church to take the oath of sanctity and they would decide his fate after dinner.

The Merchant of Venice Summary

Act 1 : Scene 1 Scene 2 , Scene 3

Act 2 : Scene 1 , Scene 2 , Scene 3 , Scene 4 , Scene 5 , Scene 6 , Scene 7 , Scene 8 , Scene 9

Act 3 : Scene 1 , Scene 2 , Scene 3 , Scene 4 , Scene 5

Act 4 : Scene 1 , Scene 2

Act 5 : Scene 1