Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 Summary and Question Answers

Study Material

Act 4 Scene 2 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 Summary ICSE Class 10 notes provided below designed as per the Merchant of Venice book used in ICSE Class 10 English Books. You should refer to all notes provided here for Merchant of Venice Workbook which are really important and can help you to get better marks in ICSE Exams

Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 Summary


In fact, this scene is an extension of the previous scene. Portia is seen in a street of Venice. She asks Nerissa to find Shylock’s home and get his signature on the deed as decided in the court. After this, they plan to reach Belmont before their husbands. In the meantime, Nerissa also takes her ring from Gratiano who has hurried to find them to give Portia the ring, she had asked from Bassanio. In this scene, comic elements are there in the ring episode and disguise theme.

Although. Shylock is not present; his shadow seems to be hovering.


1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

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

    Fair sir, you are well overtaken.
    My lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
    Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
    You company at dinner.

(i) Which deed is referred to in the extract? What are the contents of the deed? Why will Lorenzo be happy to have the deed?
Shylock had to sign a deed as ordered by the court.
According to the contents of the deed, after Shylock’s death, his state will go to Lorenzo and Jessica.
Because of the contents of the deed, Portia says Lorenzo will be happy to see the deed.

(ii) Where is Portia going that night? Why should she reach home before her husband?
Portia is returning to Belmont.
She should reach home before her husband because she does not want her husband to know that she has been absent from her home while he was in Venice.

(iii) Under what pretext she was away from home?
She had told Lorenzo and others that she along with Nerissa is going to a monastery for prayer and meditation.

(iv) Why does Gratiano overtake her?
Gratiano overtakes her to give her the ring from Bassanio, who had at first hesitated in parting with the ring given to him by Portia.

(v) What role does the ring episode play?
The ring episode plays a comic interlude and becomes the part of the love episode.

2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

    That cannot be:
    His ring I do accept most thankfully;
    And So, I pray you, tell him: furthermore,
    I pray you, show my youth old Shylock’s house.

    That will I do.

    Sir, I would speak with you.
    (Aside to Portia) I’ll see if I can get my husband’s ring which I did make him swear to keep forever.

(i) To what does Portia refer, when she say, ‘That cannot be’? Why do you think she says so?
Portia refers to Bassanio’s invitation to dinner at Antonio’s house and says that it is not possible.
She says so because she has to reach Belmont before her husband’s arrival in Belmont.

(ii) Who is the youth referred to in the extract? Why should the youth be shown Shylock’s house?
The youth, referred to, is Nerissa.
She Should be shown Shylock’s house because Shylock has to sign the deed prepared according to the instructions of the Duke.

(iii) What does Nerissa plan to do?
Nerissa tells Portia that she plans to take her ring from Gratiano which he had sworn to keep forever.

(iv) How would Portia and Nerissa challenge their husbands about their rings? How will this incident later on have a comic effect in the play?
Portia and Nerissa will pretend to see their husbands’ hands and challenge them about their rings.
Their husbands will be embarrassed, worried and unhappy at their wives’ accusations that they have given the rings to other women. This brings in the comic element in the play.

(v) How does Portia’s love of drama and fun come to the forefront in this scene?
She readily agrees with Nerissa to try to take Gratiano’s ring. Later it will be dramatic to show anger at the absence of rings on their fingers and as the audience knows the reality of the rings, it will create fun, humour and entertainment in the play.

Merchant of Venice Act 4 Scene 2 Summary