The Merchant of Venice

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Merchant of Venice Act 3, scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Back at Belmont, after Bassanio's hasty departure, Lorenzo and Portia are chatting. Lorenzo reassures Portia that if she knew what a "true gentleman" (3.4.6) Antonio is, she would only be more proud of her good deed. Portia replies that she never regrets doing good. She adds that if Bassanio loves Antonio so much, they must be alike. If so, 3000 ducats is a small sum for the purchase of his life.
Out of love, Portia sets a price of 3000 ducats on Antonio's life, much as Shylock did earlier, out of hate. Lorenzo recalls the strong character of friendship that many Venetians seem to feel toward Antonio.
Themes
Human and Animal Theme Icon
Law, Mercy, and Revenge Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Portia then asks Lorenzo whether he and Jessica will manage her estate, as she has vowed to live in prayer and contemplation in a monastery outside Belmont for as long as Bassanio is gone. Lorenzo agrees. He and Jessica exit. Portia then asks her servant, Balthazar, to take a letter to her cousin, Doctor Bellario, in Padua. She tells Balthazar that Bellario will give him some documents and clothing, and that Balthazar should bring these with all possible speed to Venice. Balthazar exits. Next, Portia tells Nerissa that they will dress up as young men and see their future husbands while they are in disguise. Nerissa is confused. Portia promises to reveal the entirety of her plan in the coach that is already waiting outside to take them to Venice.
In 2.6, Lorenzo and his friends dressed up in order to help Jessica escape Shylock's house so that she could marry Lorenzo. Now, out of love for Bassanio and Bassanio's friends, Portia and Nerissa will also dress up in an effort to outwit Shylock.
Themes
Law, Mercy, and Revenge Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon