Act 3, Scene 4 Notes from Merchant of Venice

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Merchant of Venice Act 3, Scene 4

The scene begins in Portia's Belmont home. Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica and Balthasar enter. Lorenzo thanks Portia again for sending Bassanio off to help Antonio, even though she doesn't know him. Portia thinks that Antonio must be a good man, if he is the best friend of her husband then he must be a good man. She then asks Lorenzo and Jessica to look after her house until she returns - she and Nerissa have decided to hide themselves away in a nearby monastery until their husbands return. Jessica and Lorenzo leave.

Portia instructs Balthasar to bring a letter to her Cousin in Padua, Doctor Bellario. She wants Balthasar to bring back clothes and papers, and meet her on the Ferry to Venice where she will be waiting for him. Balthasar leaves. Portia announces to Nerissa that they're not really going to a monastery at all: "Portia: Well see our husbands before they think of us. Nerissa: Shall they see us? Portia: They shall, Nerissa, but in such a habit that they shall think we are accomplished with what we lack." Act 3, Scene 4, lines 57-62. Portia explains that they'll disguise themselves as men, and sneak into Venice unrecognized.

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