The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Start Your Free Trial

Explain, line by line, Lancelot Gobbo's opening speech in Act II, Scene ii of The Merchant of Venice

Expert Answers info

Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write892 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

This speech by Lancelot Gobbo, the clown, reveals his indecision over whether or not to leave his master, Shylock

Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew, my master.

His conscience will work to make him feel guilty if he runs away.

The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me, saying to me, “Gobbo,” “Launcelot Gobbo,” “Good Launcelot,” or “Good Gobbo,” or “Good Launcelot Gobbo” —“use your legs, take the start, run away.”

The devil is urging him to leave, to simply take to his heels and flee.

My conscience says, “No. Take heed, honest Launcelot. Take heed, honest Gobbo,” or as aforesaid, “Honest Launcelot Gobbo, do not run. Scorn running with thy heels.”

Again, his conscience intervenes to try and dissuade him, appealing to him as an 'honest man’ to 'scorn' the idea of flight.

Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack. “Fia!” says the fiend. “Away!” says the fiend. “For the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,” says the fiend,...

(The entire section contains 556 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial