Study Guide

The Merchant of Venice Act 4, Scene 2

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Act 4, Scene 2

Read the full text of The Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • On the street in Venice, Portia and Nerissa, still disguised as Balthazar and his attendant, continue to do their legal stuff. Portia tells Nerissa to find Shylock's house and give him the deed of gift they drafted for Lorenzo and Jessica's inheritance. 
  • Portia announces that their plan is to go away tonight and be home before their husbands return tomorrow. Portia notes that Lorenzo will be stoked about Shylock's deed of gift (though she leaves out how Lorenzo will feel about Shylock becoming a broken, defeated man).
  • Just then, Graziano shows up and gives Portia Bassanio's ring, saying he changed his mind. Furthermore, he wants them to come to dinner. Portia accepts the ring, refuses the dinner invite, and plots with Nerissa to raise hell for their men once they get home. Nerissa, quite the little copycat, had also given Graziano a ring, and had, just like Portia, also made him promise never to give it away. Nerissa decides that, in her disguise and with her originality, she'll ask Graziano for this very ring and see if he gives it up.
  • Portia jokes that they'll really give it to their husbands when they come home without their rings. The men will of course swear that they gave the rings to other men, not to random women, but the women, knowing the truth, will swear otherwise. Portia then asks Graziano to show her to Shylock's house.

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