The Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 4 ICSE Questions and Answers

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

Lorenzo :  Madam, with all my heart;
I shall obey you in all fair commands.

Portia :      My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
And so farewell, till we shall meet again.

(i) Where are Lorenzo and Portia at this time? What ‘fair commands’ are given to Lorenzo?

Answer : Lorenzo and Portia are at Portia’s house in Belmont in when they have this talk. Bassanio has left for Venice to help Antonio in his difficult time. Portia tells Lorenzo that she has sworn to pray Nerissa at a monastery about two miles away until her husband returns. While she is gone, she wants Lorenzo and Jessica to look after her house.

(ii) How does Lorenzo describe Portia in the beginning of the scene?

Answer : Portia and Bassanio had not been married for even a day when the news of Antonio’s misfortune reached them. She right away sent her husband to help Antonio. This gesture of her filled Lorenzo with admiration. He says that it was very noble of her to respect and understand the bond of friendship that Bassanio and Antonio shared.

(iii) What order does Portia give to Balthazar a little later?

Answer : Portia orders Balthazar to go to Padua as fast as he can meet her cousin Doctor Bellario there. Bellario is a Doctor of Law. She further tells him that Bellario will hand over some clothes and papers to Balthazar which he has to bring to the ferry bound for Venice.

(iv) What information  does Portia give to Nerissa? In what mood is Portia when she is speaking to Nerissa?

Answer : Nerissa was confused, but Portia told her that they would be seeing their husbands very soon. However, their husbands would not be able to recognise them as they would be dressed as men. Portia was very excited about her plans. She was even a bit haughty to think that she would look better than Nerissa when dressed as men.

(v) What does Portia say to Lorenzo about the place where she is going? Where is she actually going and why?

Answer : Portia tells Lorenzo that she would devote her time to praying till her husband returns from Venice. All this time, she would be at a monastery about two miles away in the company of Nerissa only.

In reality, she has a plan in her mind to save Antonio. She and Nerissa would be going to Venice disguised as men.