Plot Summary / The Story-line
Portia gives Nerissa the official contract by which Shylock will pass his property to Lorenzo and instructs her to take Shylock’s sign on it by visiting his house. At this time Gratiano reaches there and gives Portia Bassanio’s ring and invites her to dinner. She is astonished. Portia accepts the ring happily but she is unable to attend the dinner.
Then Nerissa wants to test Gratiano in the same way if she can manage to get his ring. Nerissa wants to know the way to Shylock’s house and Gratiano accompanies her to show the way.
Commentary on Act IV, Scene 2
This scene serves as a closing to the previous scene. We also see Portia and Nerissa acquire the rings from their respective lovers. It makes sure they will puzzle the men later and adds to the romantic theme of the play. It is one of the common features of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies where the female characters become more sensible and intelligent than male characters. Portia is one of those Shakespearean heroines. She plans to play the ring trick in order to prove her wit.
We also get to think about the strong bond of friendship between Antonio and Bassanio. Bassanio gives his ring to Portia on Antonio’s single request while he denied it to the lawyer’s (Portia’s) repeated plea.