In act 2 scene 4, Jessica laments Launcelot leaving the house which is otherwise “hell.” Give evidence from the text to support your answer. How accurate were Launcelot’s and Jessica’s descriptions of Shylock’s household? How does this further develop our understanding of Shylock’s character? How does Shylock perceive himself as a master and a father?

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Interestingly, Shakespeare never goes into specific detail about Shylock and Jessica's relationship at home. All the audience has to go on are the things Jessica says, brief interactions between father and daughter, and Shylock's reaction to Jessica's elopement. Indeed, there might be a more complex relationship there than first it seems.

When Launcelot is leaving the household, Jessica claims the house is "hell" and "[tedious]" to her beloved's face. She also says she would not have her father see them speaking together, which suggests she is afraid of Shylock's wrath. However, once Launcelot is out of earshot, Jessica admits to herself that she is ashamed of how she has become embarrassed to be known as Shylock's daughter. This suggests a few possible things about Jessica's character: one, that she does love her father on a personal level despite his flaws, but social prejudice against Jews is...

(The entire section contains 457 words.)

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