The Merchant of Venice

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5 Questions

Who does Portia not want to come near her house?

The doctor who has the jewel she loved.

What does Portia swear to do if she is left alone?

She swears to have the doctor for her bedfellow.

Who does Nerissa want to be if Portia has the doctor for her bedfellow?

She wants to be the doctor's clerk.

What does Bassanio ask Portia to forgive him for?

He asks for forgiveness for the enforced wrong.

Who does Antonio claim to be the unhappy subject of?

He claims to be the unhappy subject of these quarrels.

Study Notes

Portia's Warning

  • Portia vows to become liberal and give away everything she has, including her body and her husband's bed, if her husband is unfaithful and allows the doctor to come near her house.
  • She is determined to take the doctor as her bedfellow if she is left alone and unsupervised.

Nerissa's Joke

  • Nerissa jokingly offers to be the doctor's clerk, implying that she would be involved in the illicit affair.

Gratiano's Warning

  • Gratiano cautions Bassanio to be careful, suggesting that if he fails to keep his wife in check, he (Gratiano) will ruin the young clerk's (Nerissa's) reputation.

Antonio's Lament

  • Antonio expresses his unhappiness at being the subject of the quarrels between Portia and Bassanio.

Portia's Reassurance

  • Portia reassures Antonio that he is welcome despite the quarrels.

Bassanio's Apology

  • Bassanio asks Portia for forgiveness for the wrong he has committed and swears his fidelity to her, invoking her fair eyes as witness.
  • Portia cleverly responds that Bassanio sees himself doubly in her eyes, one in each eye.

Test your knowledge of Shakespeare's character Portia from "The Merchant of Venice" with this quiz. Answer questions about her relationships, motivations, and key quotes to see how well you know this strong and independent woman from the play.

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