Questions and Answers from The Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 by William Shakespeare

Structured Questions from Act 4 Scene 2 of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Questions and Answers from The Merchant Of Venice ACT 4 SCENE 2

Portia: Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it. We'll away tonight, 
And be a day before our husbands home :
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo. 

1. Who are the two people in conversation? Who is the Jew? Why are they looking for his house?


The two people in the conversation are Portia, dressed as a lawyer and Nerissa, dressed as her clerk. Both are in the garb of men. The Jew is the money lender, Shylock, who lends money on interest and is an unfeeling man. Since he has lost the case against Antonio he must sign a deed for which they are looking for his house.

2. What is in the deed? What brought about this deed?


Shylock cannot cut a pound of flesh from Antonio's body without shedding a drop of blood hence, he has no choice but to let go of his bond and accept the decision of the court. According to the law of Venice, half of Shylock's property would go to the state of Venice and the other half would go to Antonio. Antonio in turn lets go of his half and makes Shylock sign a bond in which he must bequeath Antonio's half to his daughter, Jessica and son-in-law, Lorenzo.

3. Who are the husbands? Why is the speaker so eager to reach home before the husbands? Where is the home?


Gratiano, Nerissa's husband and Bassanio, Portia's husband are being spoken of here. Portia, the speaker along with Nerissa, her lady-in-waiting, are eager to reach home before their husbands because the husbands are unaware of their wives' disguise and they still want to keep it a secret from their husbands. They are all bound for Belmont.

4. Who is Lorenzo and why will he be happy to see the deed?


Lorenzo is Jessica's husband, a Christian and Jessica, being Shylock's daughter is a Jew. Being the owner of such a large property, which is least expected, would definitely make him happy.

5. Who enters the scene, hereafter? What transpires between this person and the speaker?


Gratiano, Nerissa's husband, enters the scene. Gratiano offers Bassanio's ring to Portia and invites her to dinner. Portia accepts the ring, very happily but refuses the invitation for dinner, saying that she needs to reach Padua at the earliest. She then requests Gratiano to show Shylock's house to Nerissa, her clerk.

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