The Merchant of Venice: Scene Indexes



Quick Index:

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 1, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 4

Act 2, Scene 5

Act 2, Scene 6

Act 2, Scene 7

Act 2, Scene 8

Act 2, Scene 9

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 3

Act 3, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 5

Act 4, Scene 1

Act 4, Scene 2

Act 5, Scene 1


Annotated Index:
ACT 1, SCENE 1
Jeremy Irons as Antonio
Directed by Michael Radford, 2004
lanceandeskimo.com
    (1.1.1) Enter ANTONIO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO. — Antonio, a merchant, is depressed, "sad"; his friends Salerio and Solanio try to talk him out of it. They suggest that he must be worried about the fate of his ships, or he must be in love, but he rejects both of those ideas. Salerio then says, "Then let us say you are sad / Because you are not merry," and suggests that Antonio could choose to be merry.
    (1.1.57) Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. — Salerio and Solanio give way to three more of Antonio's friends. Gratiano, a great talker, says that being melancholy is just a way of trying to appear impressive, and advises Antonio to cheer up.
    (1.1.113) Exeunt [Gratiano and Lorenzo]. — Bassanio, a charming young man who has borrowed money from Antonio, asks to borrow more money. He wants to use the money to travel to Belmont, where there is "a lady richly left," Portia. He has received "fair speechless messages" from her eyes, and if he could marry her, all of his money problems would be over. Even though he has no cash, Antonio is eager to help his young friend, so he promises to borrow money for Bassanio's benefit.
ACT 1, SCENE 2
Lynn Collins, as Portia,
and Heather Goldenhersh as Nerissa

Directed by Michael Radford, 2004
thehollywoodinterview.blogspot.com
    (1.2.1) Enter PORTIA with her waiting-woman, NERISSA. — Portia complains that her "little body is aweary of this great world." Her companion, Nerissa, advises her to count her blessings. In the course of the conversation we learn that, by the terms of Portia's father's will, the man who wins Portia's hand in marriage must correctly choose one of three caskets (what we might call jewelry boxes). One is gold, one is silver, and the third is made of lead. (Later we learn that it is the leaden casket which contains Portia's picture, entitling the man who chooses the leaden casket to take Portia's hand in marriage.) There are already numerous suitors at Belmont, and Portia cheers herself up by making fun of them. The German is drunk all the time; the Frenchman is "every man in no man," and the Englishman looks fine, but speaks only English and wears peculiar clothes. Nerissa mentions Bassanio (who is not one of the suitors at Belmont), and Portia shows a definite interest. Then a messenger appears with the news that all of Portia's present suitors have left, but a new one is coming. The new one is the Prince of Morocco, a black man. Of him, Portia says, "if he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me." In other words, she doesn't want to be married to a black man.
ACT 1, SCENE 3
Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Shylock
painted by Charles Buchel (1895 - 1935)
en.wikipedia.org
    (1.3.1) Enter BASSANIO with SHYLOCK the Jew. — Bassanio and Shylock, the Jew, are discussing the terms of a loan: "Three thousand ducats for three months and Antonio bound." "Antonio bound" means that in case of a default, Antonio is to be the responsible party, and Shylock says he wants to speak to Antonio, so Bassanio invites Shylock to a business lunch with himself and Antonio, but Shylock refuses, saying, "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." Shylock's point is that Bassanio has forgotten the cultural divide that separates Christian and Jew; they can do business, but not socialize.
    (1.3.40) Enter ANTONIO. — Antonio appears, and as Bassanio goes to talk to him, Shylock tells himself (and us) that Antonio hates him, he hates Antonio, and that "If I can catch him once upon the hip, / I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him." Speaking to Antonio, Shylock says "Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow / Upon advantage [with payment of interest]." Antonio replies, "I do never use it," and Shylock answers with a long story about Jacob, the point of which is that "thrift is blessing, if men steal it not." Antonio disdainfully accuses him of misinterpreting scripture, and Shylock then challenges him in another way, pointing out that Antonio has cursed him, kicked him, and spit upon him. Now, Shylock asks, why would Antonio expect Shylock to lend him money? Angered, Antonio returns Shylock's challenge with one of his own: Shylock should lend the money as to his enemy, so that he will have better reason to exact the penalty if the loan is not repaid. Shylock backpedals, says that he wants to be Antonio's friend, and offers to lend the money interest-free, with the condition that the penalty for non-payment be a "pound / Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken / In what part of your body pleaseth me." Bassanio is shocked, but Antonio immediately agrees to Shylock's terms; he is sure that within two months his ships will return and he will have more than enough money to repay the loan.
ACT 2, SCENE 1
     (2.1.1) Enter [the PRINCE of] MOROCCO, a tawny Moor all in white, and three or four followers accordingly, with PORTIA, NERISSA, and their TRAIN. — Morocco proclaims his pride in his blackness, and urgently requests that Portia not hold it against him. Portia replies that her hand in marriage goes to the man who chooses the correct casket, and tells him that if a man makes the wrong choice, he must promise never to propose marriage to any other woman. Morocco accepts the terms, and they leave to go to a temple, where Morocco will take his oath to abide by those terms.
ACT 2, SCENE 2
    (2.2.1) Enter the Clown [LAUNCELOT GOBBO] alone.
Jacob Ming-Trent
as Launcelot Gobbo
bostonartsdiary.com
— Launcelot, Shylock's servant, delivers a comic soliloquy in which he tries to decide whether or not to run away from his master. His conscience tells him he shouldn't, but the fiend tells him he should, and he decides to follow the devil's advice because Shylock himself "is a kind of devil."
    (2.2.33) Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket. — An old man enters with a basket and asks the way to Shylock's house. Launcelot tells us that this is his father, who "being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not," and he will play tricks on him. Launcelot's first trick is to give his blind father utterly confusing directions to Shylock's house. His second trick is to tell his father that his son Launcelot is dead. After this foolery, Launcelot tells his father the truth, and that he is going to run away from Shylock.
    (2.2.114) Enter BASSANIO with a follower or two, [including LEONARDO]. —Bassanio is giving directions to a servant about a feast that he is going to hold. Launcelot and his father approach Bassanio with the intention of asking Bassanio to employ Launcelot as a servant. They have a hard time getting their message across because both find themselves at a loss for words and tell the other to speak, but finally Bassanio understands and gives Launcelot the job. Launcelot celebrates his good luck and leaves with his father.
    (2.2.173) Enter GRATIANO. —Gratiano asks to accompany Bassanio to Belmont, where Bassanio is going to woo Portia. Bassanio grants Gratianio's request, but warns him that he must not exhibit the "wild behavior" that makes him so much fun among his friends, but which might ruin Bassanio's chances in Belmont. Gratiano promises to "Talk with respect and swear but now and then," except for that night, at Bassanio's feast. And so they are agreed.
ACT 2, SCENE 3
Jessica, 1877
by W. Q. Orchardson
shakespeare.emory.edu
     (2.3.1) Enter JESSICA and the clown [LAUNCELOT]. — Jessica, Shylock's daughter, says farewell to Launcelot, who is leaving her father's house to be the servant of Bassanio. She also gives him a letter to deliver secretly to Lorenzo. After Launcelot leaves, Jessica exclaims, "Alack, what heinous sin is it in me / To be ashamed to be my father's child!" She then reveals that she plans to marry Lorenzo and become a Christian.
ACT 2, SCENE 4
     (2.4.1) Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO. —Lorenzo and his friends are planning Lorenzo's elopement with Jessica. Lorenzo will steal away from Bassanio's feast, to which Shylock is invited, so that he'll be out of the way. At Shylock's house, Lorenzo will find Jessica, whose letter tells how she will take "gold and jewels" from her father's house, dress herself as Lorenzo's page, and run away with Lorenzo.
ACT 2, SCENE 5
     (2.5.1) Enter [SHYLOCK the] Jew and [LAUNCELOT,] his man that was, the Clown. — Shylock bids Launcelot good riddance and calls for Jessica. He says that he is going to Bassanio's feast, even though he's sure the invitation was only meant to flatter him, and tells Jessica to keep the house locked up while he's gone. As Launcelot is leaving, he quietly passes the word to Jessica that Lorenzo will be coming to get her. As Shylock leaves, he delivers his wisdom to Jessica: "Fast bind, fast find; / A proverb never stale in thrifty mind." As soon as her father is out the door, Jessica says, "Farewell . . . I have a father, you a daughter, lost."
ACT 2, SCENE 6
     (2.6.1) Enter the masquers, GRATIANO and SALERIO. — Close to Shylock's house, Gratiano and Salerio, "masquers," party-goers who were supposed to go to Bassanio's feast, are waiting for Lorenzo to come and take Jessica to a new life as his wife. Lorenzo, late, shows up and calls up to a window of Shylock's house. Jessica comes to the window, dressed in boy's clothes.
19th Century Jewelry Casket
Source: Antique Week
When Lorenzo swears love for her, she throws down a rich jewelry casket. She is embarrassed by her boy's clothes, but comes down, with more gold coins, and runs away with her love, Lorenzo. Just then Antonio arrives with the news that there will be no party that night; the wind has shifted, and Bassanio is boarding the ship to Belmont. Gratiano is glad to hear this news; he is eager to be gone with Bassanio to Belmont. All rush away.
ACT 2, SCENE 7
     (2.7.1) Enter PORTIA with [the PRINCE of] MOROCCO. — Portia brings in the Prince of Morocco to make his choice of caskets. He asks how he will know if he has chosen the right one, and Portia tells him that the it will contain her picture. The prince studies the inscriptions on the caskets, and chooses the gold, which says, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire." His reasoning is that both Portia and himself are so beautiful and good that they can only be represented by gold. However, when he opens the casket he finds a scroll which tells him that "All that glitters is not gold."
The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival
summer 2015
www.cleveshakes.com
Morocco quickly leaves, and Portia is glad to see him go.
ACT 2, SCENE 8
     (2.8.1) Enter SALERIO and SOLANIO. — Salerio and Solanio are gossiping about Shylock. When he discovered that his daughter had run off with a Christian and taken his money, too, Shylock erupted into a passion, shouting about his daughter and his ducats. Salerio and Solanio think the "villain Jew" is ridiculous, but they realize that their friend Antonio has been put in danger; if Antonio doesn't pay his debt, Shylock will make him pay for all the wrongs that Shylock feels he has suffered. Then Salerio and Solanio comment on Antonio's kindness, and his deep affection for Bassanio; Salerio describes how Antonio's eyes filled with tears when he said farewell to Bassanio. The two friends go off to find Antonio, so that they can try to cheer him up.
ACT 2, SCENE 9
     (2.9.1) Enter [the PRINCE of] ARRAGON, his TRAIN, and PORTIA. — The Prince of Arragon, hoping to win the hand of Portia,
"What's here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,"
David Whitely as Arragon
St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, 2008
internetshakespeare.uvic.ca
comes to make his choice of caskets. He has already taken his oath to abide by the rules: never to reveal what casket he chose, and, if he chooses wrong, to leave immediately and never "woo a maid in way of marriage." He thinks about each of the caskets, and rejects the one of lead, which says "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath." Because he does not want to be counted among the "fool multitude," he also rejects the golden casket, which says, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire." He approves of the inscription on the silver casket, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves," and chooses it because he believes he is deserving. What he finds inside is a fool's head with the message that he himself is a fool. Following the rules of the game, he leaves immediately. As soon as the Prince of Arragon is gone, a messenger arrives with the news that a new suitor has arrived, heralded by a strikingly handsome young man from Venice. Portia rushes out to see the new arrival, and Nerissa hopes that it is Bassanio.
ACT 3, SCENE 1
     (3.1.1) [Enter] SOLANIO and SALERIO. — Solanio and Salerio are alarmed at the news that the good Antonio has lost a ship.
    
Al Pacino as SHYLOCK, the jew
The Merchant of Venice, 2004
www.aceshowbiz.com
(3.1.22) Enter SHYLOCK. — Solanio asks Shylock if he has heard any news "among the merchants." Solanio and Salerio are interested in the question of whether or not Shylock has heard about Antonio's loss of a ship, but Shylock is obsessed about his daughter. He says, "You know, none so well, none so well as you, of my daughter's flight," as though they had betrayed him, but Salerio and Solanio mock him. After this, Salerio asks the question that is uppermost in his mind: "But tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any loss at sea or no?" The mention of Antonio makes Shylock angry; he says that Antonio had better "look to his bond." Salerio asks, "Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh: what's that good for?" "To bait fish withal," Shylock replies, with bitter sarcasm. Shylock then speaks of all the wrongs that Antonio has done to him, and asks, "what's his reason?" Shylock's answer to his own question is: "I am a Jew." He goes on to say, "If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?" His chilling conclusion is that "if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
     (3.1.77) Enter TUBAL. — Just after Shylock delivers his bitter, threatening speech about Antonio, Tubal, a friend of Shylock, and a fellow-Jew, appears. Tubal has been trying to find Shylock's daughter, but says "I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her." Shylock exclaims on the loss of his money, but is even more tortured by his daughter's betrayal; he says, "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear!" Tubal then intersperses news of Jessica's misdeeds — such as exchanging Shylock's wedding ring for a monkey — with predictions that Antonio will default on his debt to Shylock. By the time he is done, Shylock is so eager to "have the heart" of Antonio that he tells Tubal to arrange for an officer to arrest Antonio the minute he defaults.
ACT 3, SCENE 2
     (3.2.1) Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, [NERISSA,] and all their TRAINS. — Bassanio comes to make his choice of caskets.
Bassanio Considering the Caskets
Source: Genre and Geometry in
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
By Clifford Stetner
Portia, deeply enamored of him, breathlessly awaits the outcome. As Bassanio considers, a song is sung which gives him a hint. The song says that "fancy" (infatuation, not true love) is engendered in the eyes. From this, Bassanio draws the inference that "outward shows be least themselves," and so chooses the casket of lead, the one with the least outward show. The leaden casket contains Portia's picture and a message that "You that choose not by the view, / Chance as fair and choose as true!" Both Bassanio and Portia are overjoyed, and Portia gives Bassanio a ring which Bassanio promises to always wear. Then Nerissa and Gratiano announce that the two of them have fallen in love and are also engaged, increasing the general joy.
     (3.2.220) Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a Messenger from Venice. — Salerio brings bad news: all of Antonio's ships have been lost and he has defaulted on his loan from Shylock. Shylock has been hounding the Duke to enforce the terms of the bond, and Antonio is sure — as he writes in a letter to Bassanio — that he will die. Antonio writes, "all debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but see you at my death." When Portia hears about this, she assures Bassanio that the problem can be solved. With her money, Bassanio can pay off the double the amount of the loan, or even more. Immediately after their wedding ceremony, Bassanio is to leave for Venice with money to pay the debt. Bassanio gratefully accepts Portia's offer.
ACT 3, SCENE 3
     (3.3.1) Enter [SHYLOCK] the Jew and [SOLANIO] and ANTONIO and the JAILER. — As he enters, Shylock says, "tell not me of mercy; / This is the fool that lent out money gratis." Shylock is followed by Antonio, in the custody of a Jailer, and by Antonio's friend Solanio. Apparently Solanio has said something about granting Antonio mercy, but Shylock doesn't want to hear it, even though Antonio's tone has changed. Earlier in the play, Antonio referred to Shylock as a devil, but now he pleads, "Hear me yet, good Shylock." Despite the change in tone, Shylock remains firm; he declares, "I will have my bond," and exits.
     (3.3.18) Exit Jew. — When Shylock is gone, Solanio denounces him as an "impenetrable cur," but Antonio is more philosophical. He says that Shylock hates him because he has saved Shylock's borrowers from severe penalties. Solanio tries to reassure Antonio that the Duke of Venice will never grant Shylock's demand for a pound of flesh, but Antonio thinks that he will, and only hopes that "Bassanio come / To see me pay his debt."
ACT 3, SCENE 4
    
Lorenzo and Jessica
Illustration by:
Sir James Dromgole Linton c.1910

Image Source: allposters.com
(3.4.1) Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and [BALTHASAR] a man of Portia's. — Lorenzo, Jessica's Christian husband, tells Portia of the goodness of Antonio, for whose sake Portia is enduring the absence of her new husband, Bassanio. Portia replies, "I never did repent for doing good," and tells Lorenzo that she is giving to him the management of her house while she and Nerissa spend the time of Bassanio's absence "in prayer and contemplation" at a monastery.
     (3.4.45) Exeunt [Jessica and Lorenzo]. — Portia orders her servant, Balthasar, to take a letter to her cousin, Doctor Bellario, who will give Balthasar certain notes and clothes to be delivered to Portia at the dock of the ferry to Venice. From this, it appears that Portia has hatched some kind of plan. As soon as Balthasar is gone, Portia reveals more of her plan. She tells Nerissa that they will soon see their husbands, who won't recognize them, because Portia and Nerissa will be dressed as men. Portia also brags that she will do better at playing the part of a ridiculous pretty-boy kind of man. And she promises to tell Nerissa all the rest of her plan when they are in the coach.
ACT 3, SCENE 5
     (3.5.1) Enter Clown [LAUNCELOT] and JESSICA. — In Belmont, the Clown is teasing Jessica. He says she must be damned because her father is a Jew, or if Shylock isn't her father, she's a bastard, so she's damned that way, too. Jessica's reply is that "I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian." The Clown's comic objection to her argument is that the more Jews that are converted to Christianity, the higher the price of pork. Lorenzo enters and must dodge a hail of witty remarks from the Clown before he can get him to go inside and order dinner to be served. Once the Clown has gone, Lorenzo and Jessica praise the mistress of the house, Portia. Jessica says that because Bassanio is married to Portia, "He finds the joys of heaven here on earth."
ACT 4, SCENE 1
    
The Trial Scene
Richard Smirke (1778 - 1815)
Royal Shakespeare Company Collection
Image Source: artuk.org
(4.1.1) Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, [SALERIO], GRATIANO, [with others]. — The Duke of Venice, who is to judge the case of Antonio and Shylock, expresses great sympathy for Antonio, who says he is ready to endure the worst that Shylock can do.
    (4.1.15) Enter SHYLOCK. — The Duke puts heavy pressure on Shylock to relent, waive the penalty of a pound of flesh, and even forgive some of the principal of the loan. Shylock refuses, and asserts that he doesn't need to give a reason, other than that it's in his nature to hate Antonio, as it is some peoples' nature to wet their pants when they hear a bagpipe. Bassanio asks, "Do all men kill the things they do not love?" Shylock replies, "Hates any man the thing he would not kill?" Bassanio tries to continue the discussion, but Antonio tells him it is useless, because nothing will soften Shylock's hard Jewish heart. Bassanio then offers six thousand ducats to pay off the loan of three thousand ducats. Shylock refuses the offer, and the Duke asks, "How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?" Shylock answers, "What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?" Shylock then goes on to point out that the Christians of Venice own slaves, and that's not considered wrong. The Duke is at a loss, and says that he will dismiss the court session unless Bellario, a doctor of law, comes to decide the case. Just at the moment Salerio announces that a messenger from Bellario is waiting outside. As the messenger is called in, Bassanio tries to cheer up Antonio by telling him that he will sacrifice his "flesh, blood, bones and all" before he will let Shylock shed one drop of Antonio's blood. Antonio answers that he's ready to die, and that the best thing that Bassanio can do is live and write Antonio's epitaph.
    
Nerissa in disguise
The Key City Theatre
(2013) B.C., Canada
www.rodneywilson.ca
(4.1.119) Enter NERISSA, [dressed like a lawyer's clerk]. —Nerissa (disguised as a lawyer's clerk) brings a letter from the Doctor of Law, Bellario. The letter asks the Duke to let a young Doctor of Law, Balthasar, judge the case. As the Duke is reading the letter, Shylock is sharpening a knife on the sole of his shoe, getting ready to cut the pound of flesh from Antonio. When Portia (disguised as "Balthasar") acts as the judge, she tries to get Shylock to show mercy, and Bassanio offers twice the money, but Shylock insists on "justice" and his bond. Portia tells Antonio that he must prepare himself for the knife, Antonio professes his willingness to be a martyr, and Shylock rejoices, but at the last minute Portia announces that Shylock may not shed even one drop of blood when he cuts, because there is no blood mentioned in the bond. Realizing that he has been out-maneuvered, Shylock asks for the money that Bassanio offered, but Portia says that since Shylock has already refused it in open court, he can't have it. As a matter of fact, Shylock can't even have his principal and can't leave because he stands convicted of conspiring against the life of a citizen of Venice—Antonio. The penalty for Shylock's crime is death, and forfeiture of all he owns—half to Antonio and half to the state of Venice. The Duke spares Shylock's life, and Antonio stipulates that Shylock will all his wealth to Jessica and her Christian husband. To top it off, Shylock must immediately become a Christian. Shylock says that he is "content," but sick, and asks that the legal papers be sent after him. And so he leaves with Gratiano's jeers following him.
    (4.1.401) Exit [SHYLOCK]. —The Duke invites the "judge"
Alexandra Carlisle as Portia (1908)
disguised as the lawyer Balthazar
shakespeare.berkeley.edu
(Portia in disguise) to dinner, but the invitation is politely turned down. The Duke tells Bassanio and Antonio that they owe a great debt of gratitude to the young judge, then exits with his entourage, leaving Portia and Nerissa alone with Antonio, Gratiano, and Bassanio. Bassanio offers the judge, as a gratuity, the three thousand ducats that was to go to Shylock. Portia turns it down, saying that the satisfaction of saving Antonio is payment enough. Bassanio insists that the judge must take something, and Portia gives in and asks for the ring that she sees on his finger. Bassanio protests that he can't give the ring because it was a gift from his wife. Portia replies that that's only an excuse, and says that "if your wife be not a madwoman, / And know how well I have deserved the ring, / She would not hold out enemy for ever, / For giving it to me." With that, she and Nerissa are off. As soon as the judge and his clerk are gone, Antonio persuades Bassanio that he has made a mistake, so Bassanio sends Gratiano running after the judge with the ring.
ACT 4, SCENE 2
     (4.2.1) Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. —As Portia is sending Nerissa to Shylock's house to deliver the deed of gift that he promised to sign, Gratiano catches up to them and delivers Bassanio's ring to the "judge." The judge and his clerk are also invited to dinner, but Portia says they must hurry away, and asks that Gratiano conduct her "youth" (Nerissa) to Shylock's house. That gives Nerissa a bright idea, and she whispers to Portia that she will talk Gratiano out of the ring his wife (herself) gave him. Portia agrees that that will be a good trick, and it'll be a lot of fun to see the men trying to talk their way out of the trouble they're going to be in for having given away their wives' rings.
ACT 5, SCENE 1
     (5.1.1) Enter LORENZO and JESSICA. —Lorenzo and Jessica, at Belmont, await the return of Portia. It's a beautiful night with a bright moon and a silent breeze. They entertain themselves by saying how "such a night" is perfectly suited to the romantic adventures of famous lovers, and of themselves.
     (5.1.25) Enter a MESSENGER [STEPHANO]. —Stephano brings news that Portia will arrive before break of day. Lorenzo and Jessica are about to go inside to "prepare / Some welcome for the mistress of the house" when Launcelot arrives with the news that Bassanio will also arrive before morning. Lorenzo then changes his mind about going into the house; he tells Stephano to go in, inform the servants that Portia is about to arrive, and bring the household musicians out to play. As the musicians come out and start playing, Lorenzo delivers an eloquent speech on heavenly harmony and the "sweet power of music."
     (5.1.89) Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. —Portia and Nerissa arrive as the music plays and the night is fading into day. Portia asks if their husbands have arrived yet, and upon being told that they have not, gives orders that no one is to mention to Bassanio and Gratiano that Portia and Nerissa have been absent from Belmont.
     (5.1.127) Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their FOLLOWERS. —Bassanio greets Portia with praise of her beauty, and Portia welcomes him home with a witticism. Bassanio then introduces Antonio, and as Portia is giving him welcome, a quarrel breaks out between Gratiano and Nerissa. Nerissa is accusing Gratiano of giving his wedding ring to another woman, and Gratiano is insisting that he gave the ring to "the judge's clerk." And so the women's plan to tease the men about their rings is put into action. Soon Bassanio has to confess that he gave away his ring too. The women declare that they will sleep with the men to whom the rings were given. After much such teasing, Bassanio apologizes, and promises to never let such a thing happen again, whereupon Portia gives him the ring, and Nerissa gives Gratiano his ring. The men recognize the rings, and are astounded. The women cap off their teasing by declaring that they have already slept with the men who were given the rings. Then Portia reveals the truth: she was the judge, and Nerissa the clerk. Portia also has good news: Three of Antonio's ships have come safely into harbor. Not only that, but she has Nerissa deliver the deed of gift from Shylock, which makes Lorenzo the rich Jew's heir. Saying that she has much more to explain, Portia leads everyone into her house, and the last thing we hear is Gratiano making jokes about going to bed with the judge's clerk.
Set painted by Corey Strauss, 2012
Image Source: mercedshakespearefest.org