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Tales from Shakespeare/The Merchant of Venice - Wikisource, the free online library

Get an answer for 'In The Merchant of Venice, what are the relationships between Portia and Nerissa and Portia and Bassanio? ' and find homework help for. in "Merchant of Venice" Total: Nerissa. They would be better, if well followed. Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels . In way of marriage: therefore be advised. My Lord Bassanio upon more advice. Shylock: The Jewish merchant of Venice who lends Antonio the money on . How does Portia and Nerissa's relationship differ from Antonio and Bassanio's? Journal/discussion topic: What advice have you given to someone else that you.

Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he needs 3, ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor.

Bassanio approaches his friend Antonioa wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash-poor — his ships and merchandise are busy at sea to Tripolisthe IndiesMexico and England — he promises to cover a bond if Bassanio can find a lender, so Bassanio turns to the Jewish moneylender Shylock and names Antonio as the loan's guarantor. Antonio has already antagonized Shylock through his outspoken antisemitism and because Antonio's habit of lending money without interest forces Shylock to charge lower rates.

Shylock is at first reluctant to grant the loan, citing abuse he has suffered at Antonio's hand. He finally agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition; Antonio is surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity no "usance" — interest — is asked forand he signs the contract. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him.

Tales from Shakespeare/The Merchant of Venice

Gratiano is a likeable young man, but he is often flippant, overly talkative, and tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control, and the two leave for Belmont. Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Her father left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets — made of gold, silver and lead respectively.

Whoever picks the right casket wins Portia's hand.

The Merchant of Venice - Wikipedia

The first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia. The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Arragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit.

Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath". The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before.

Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted. She took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah.

Shylock has Antonio brought before court. At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock. Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Gratiano and Portia's handmaid Nerissa.

Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venicewith money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia sent her servant, Balthazar, to seek the counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua.

Key moments

The climax of the play takes place in the court of the Duke of Venice. Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer of 6, ducats, twice the amount of the loan. He demands his pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify a contract, refers the case to a visitor. He identifies himself as Balthasar, a young male "doctor of the law", bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario.

The doctor is Portia in disguise, and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man. As Balthasar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speechadvising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" IV, i, However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh.

As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance". She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the "blood", of Antonio see quibble.

Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws. She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate. She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke.

The Duke pardons Shylock's life. Antonio asks for his share "in use" until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i.

Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. Religion is another source of conflict: Shylock is a Jew while Antonio is a Christian. When Antonio arrives, Shylock is polite but reminds him how he has criticised him for his money lending and insulted his Jewish faith. Shylock agrees to the loan to his one-time enemy and to demonstrate his new friendship offers to waive interest charges.

Antonio tells his friend not to worry because his ships will return a month before the bond expires, so the debt will easily be repaid. Young Gobbo pretends to be some-one else and tells his father that Lancelet is dead. After much confusion, Lancelet confesses his true identity and explains that he has run away from Shylock. He tells his father to give the present meant for Shylock to Bassanio instead. Bassanio issues orders for his departure to Belmont and warns Gratiano to moderate his behaviour if he wants to accompany him.

Disguised as a boy, Jessica joins her lover Lorenzo in the street and they leave for the masque. Gratiano parts from his companions to accompany Bassanio on the voyage to Belmont. Movingly he explains that a Jew is the same as other men with the same feelings and needs. Bassanio chooses his casket and discovers his fortune Act 3 Scene 2 In Belmont, Portia urges Bassanio to wait a day or two before choosing the casket, which will determine whether he can marry her or not, but he is determined to proceed.

Shylock, hearing this debate, exclaimed: Their own hard dealings teach them to suspect the thoughts of others. I pray you tell me this, Bassanio: A pound of man's flesh, taken from a man, is not so estimable, nor profitable neither, as the flesh of mutton or beef. I say, to buy his favour I offer this friendship: The rich heiress that Bassanio wished to marry lived near Venice, at a place called Belmont: Bassanio being so kindly supplied with money by his friend Antonio, at the hazard of his life, set out for Belmont with a splendid train, and attended by a gentleman of the name of Gratiano.

Bassanio proving successful in his suit, Portia in a short time consented to accept of him for a husband. Bassanio confessed to Portia that he had no fortune, and that his high birth and noble ancestry was all that he could boast of; she, who loved him for his worthy qualities, and had riches enough not to regard wealth in a husband, answered with a graceful modesty, that she would wish herself a thousand times more fair, and ten thousand times more rich, to be more worthy of him; and then the accomplished Portia prettily dispraised herself, and said she was an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpractised, yet not so old but that she could learn, and that she would commit her gentle spirit to be directed and governed by him in all things; and she said: But yesterday, Bassanio, I was the lady of this fair mansion, queen of myself, and mistress over these servants; and now this house, these servants, and myself, are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring'; presenting a ring to Bassanio.

Bassanio was so overpowered with gratitude and wonder at the gracious manner in which the rich and noble Portia accepted of a man of his humble fortunes, that he could not express his joy and reverence to the dear lady who so honoured him, by anything but broken words of love and thankfulness; and taking the ring, he vowed never to part with it. Gratiano and Nerissa, Portia's waiting-maid, were in attendance upon their lord and lady, when Portia so gracefully promised to become the obedient wife of Bassanio; and Gratiano, wishing Bassanio and the generous lady joy, desired permission to be married at the same time.

Portia asked Nerissa if this was true. When Bassanio read Antonio's letter, Portia feared it was to tell him of the death of some dear friend, he looked so pale; and inquiring what was the news which had so distressed him, he said: Sweet Bassanio, my ships are all lost, my bond to the Jew is forfeited, and since in paying it is impossible I should live, I could wish to see you at my death; notwithstanding use your pleasure; if your love for me do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.

The day of payment being past, the cruel Jew would not accept of the money which Bassanio offered him, but insisted upon having a pound of Antonio's flesh. A day was appointed to try this shocking cause before the duke of Venice, and Bassanio awaited in dreadful suspense the event of the trial.

When Portia parted with her husband, she spoke cheeringly to him, and bade him bring his dear friend along with him when he returned; yet she feared it would go hard with Antonio, and when she was left alone, she began to think and consider within herself, if she could by any means be instrumental in saving the life of her dear Bassanio's friend; and notwithstanding when she wished to honour her Bassanio, she had said to him with such a meek and wifelike grace, that she would submit in all things to be governed by his superior wisdom, yet being now called forth into action by the peril of her honoured husband's friend, she did nothing doubt her own powers, and by the sole guidance of her own true and perfect judgement, at once resolved to go herself to Venice, and speak in Antonio's defence.

Portia had a relation who was a counsellor in the law; to this gentleman, whose name was Bellario, she wrote, and stating the case to him, desired his opinion, and that with his advice he would also send her the dress worn by a counsellor. When the messenger returned, he brought letters from Bellario of advice how to proceed, and also everything necessary for her equipment. Portia dressed herself and her maid Nerissa in men's apparel, and putting on the robes of a counsellor, she took Nerissa along with her as her clerk; and setting out immediately, they arrived at Venice on the very day of the trial.

The cause was just going to be heard before the duke and senators of Venice in the senatehouse, when Portia entered this high court of justice, and presented a letter from Bellario, in which that learned counsellor wrote to the duke, saying, he would have come himself to plead for Antonio, but that he was prevented by sickness, and he requested that the learned young doctor Balthasar so he called Portia might be permitted to plead in his stead.

This the duke granted, much wondering at the youthful appearance of the stranger, who was prettily disguised by her counsellor's robes and her large wig.

And now began this important trial. Portia looked around her, and she knew the merciless Jew; and she saw Bassanio, but he knew her not in her disguise. He was standing beside Antonio, in an agony of distress and fear for his friend. The importance of the arduous task Portia had engaged in gave this tender lady courage, and she boldly proceeded in the duty she had undertaken to perform: