Portia is feeling sad
The scene shifts to Belmont now. Portia and her maid Nerissa are talking to each other. Portia is complaining about the monotony in her life which has also made her sad. Nerissa says that Portia has been endowed with all that the world has to offer but being rich does not exempt her from having problems. At this, Portia retorts by saying that these were good lines only to be said.
The will of Portia’s father
Portia is not at all happy with her life. She is not free. She feels that her father’s will has kept her in shackles. Apparently, she can neither choose her husband nor refuse the right suitor. Nerissa is convinced that her father was a virtuous and intelligent man, and the lottery that he devised to choose the right suitor for Portia would be fruitful. The lottery involves three caskets – one gold, one silver and one lead. Whoever choose the correct casket, gets to marry Portia.
Portia didn’t like any of the suitors
Nerissa adds that Portia’s complaints about not able to choose a man are frivolous and she asks whether Portia likes any of the suitors she’s see so far. She begins listing them and Portia begins to bring out the faults in all of them.
None of the suitors had impressed Portia but the Nerissa reminds her of a Venetian. Portia even remembers his name. It was Bassanio. Nerissa says that of all the suitors, he was the best deserving candidate. Portia also feels the same.
Act 5 : Scene 1