Merchant of Venice

Act 5 scene 1

what do Antonio and Portia, as well as Gratiano and Nerissa argue about, and of what do the women accuse the men?

Asked by
Last updated by coco s #17435
Answers 2
Add Yours

Portia and Nerissa work their husbands into a frenzy, but they also know when to stop. As soon as Bassanio declares himself a cuckold, Portia begs him to “[s]peak not so grossly” and unveils the means by which she secured his ring (V.i.265). Thus, Bassanio and Gratiano are folded back into their wives’ good graces. The play ends with Gratiano asserting that “while I live I’ll fear no other thing / So sore as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring” (V.i.305–306). The line suggests that he will not only safeguard the band of gold his wife gave him, but will also strive to keep her sexually satisfied so that she has no reason to cuckold him. But here, too, a shadow steals over the finale of celebratory reconciliation, for we wonder if Bassanio and Gratiano have what it takes to keep up with their wives. Nowhere in the play—not even when Bassanio chooses the correct casket—do the men come close to matching Portia’s wit or cleverness.


Angelina, if you read the play, this question is simple to answer.