The Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice Act 2, scene 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As planned, Gratiano and Salerio arrive at Shylock's house in their costumes with the other members of Lorenzo's party—only Lorenzo is late. As they wait for Lorenzo, Gratiano crassly explains his belief that lovers are most interested when they're chasing their beloved, and tend to lose interest after the wooing has been successful and the relationship consummated.
Gratiano, the Venetian nobleman, again displays his basic vulgarity, casually commenting that he thinks this relationship between Lorenzo and Jessica may run out of steam even as Jessica prepares to forsake everything for Lorenzo's love.
Themes
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
When Lorenzo arrives, he makes a joke about his "father Jew" (2.6.25) and calls out to Jessica. Jessica quickly passes the promised casket of gold and jewels down to Lorenzo. Then she herself descends from the same window, dressed as his torch-bearer. She is embarrassed to be "transformed to a boy." But Lorenzo assures her that she looks beautiful and urges her to hurry—they are expected at Bassanio's.
While Jessica expects to lose her father and Jewishness through marriage, Lorenzo's joke implies that escaping one's family is not so easy. Jessica lowering the money from the same window she uses to escape, makes the equation between marriage and wealth all the more explicit.
Themes
Prejudice and Intolerance Theme Icon
Greed vs. Generosity Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
As Jessica, Lorenzo, and the other "masqueing mates" head out into the street, Antonio intercepts them. He scolds Gratiano for being late to Bassanio's dinner, and says that Bassanio is preparing to leave on a boat for Belmont right away, as the wind is good. They hurry off to the ship.
The rollicking "masque" joins up with the somber Antonio, and the festivities end for the night.
Themes
Greed vs. Generosity Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon