Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Lorenzo, Portia, Nerissa

Lorenzo praises Portia for valuing true friendship by sending her husband to Venice for Antonio’s help without any delay. He says that she will feel pleased with her action since Antonio is really a noble man and a great friend.

Portia says that she knows that the two friends who are deeply attached to each other must be similar in appearance. She does not consider any sacrifice too great for ensuring the safety of a friend like Antonio. She tells Lorenzo that she has told her servants to regard him and Jessica as their masters in her absence. Lorenzo and Jessica agree to look after her house.

Portia asks Balthazar to run to Padua and deliver her letter to Doctor Bellario. She instructs him to bring back with him the documents or clothes that he might give him. When Balthazar leaves, Portia tells Nerissa that they are going to meet their husbands very soon. Nerissa fails to understand what Portia means. Portia explains to Nerissa that they are going to put on male dresses.

She will put on her knife and belt in order to give a look of a smart man. Portia, then, tells Nerissa that she will disclose the whole plan later. She asks her to accompany her to the park gate from where the mail-coach will pick them up to cover a journey of twenty miles.

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Critical Commentary

In this scene, we discover new shades in the personality of Portia. So far we have known that she is a woman having all the graceful womanly virtues. But here we find that she is a woman of quick decision and determined action.

The moment she finds that the life of her husband’s friend is in danger, she hastens to Venice with a daring and intelligent plan to save him. This scene has a great significance because it will lead us to the crucial trial scene. Moreover, the presence of all the important characters in Venice will make the union of the main plot and the subplot complete. In this way, Shakespeare achieves complete dramatic unity.

Significance of the Scene

  1. This scene reveals Portia’s plan to appear as a judge to defend Antonio.
  2. It reveals Portia’s shrewdness as well as generosity.
  3. Portia’s courage astonishes Lorenzo

Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 Glossary

Lines 1-30
conceit : idea
amity : friendship
lineaments : features
semblance : likeness
husbandry : control

Lines 31-60 :
imposition : task
fair : honoured
my people : my servants
fair : happy
imagined : great
traject : ferry

Lines 61-87
habit : dress
accomplished : furnished
accoutred : equipped
grace : dignity
mincing : short, quick
could not do withal : could not help it

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