Merchant of Venice

Question for Merchant of Venice HELP

ACT 2:

In reading the play, we know from the stage direction that Portia enters at the beginning of 2.1, but an audience in the theatre doesn't know that. How soon might an audience know that it is Portia who is talking to Nerissa? Based on Bassanio's description of Portia at the end of 1.1, what might first identify her as Portia?

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The audience should come to understand Portia's identity as ahe and Nerissa discuss the suitors.

And she is fair and—fairer than that word— Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages. Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued To Cato’s daughter, Brutus' Portia. Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth, For the four winds blow in from every coast Renownèd suitors, and her sunny locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece, Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand, And many Jasons come in quest of her. O my Antonio, had I but the means To hold a rival place with one of them, I have a mind presages me such thrift That I should questionless be fortunate!

The Merchant of Venice