Bassanio cannot bear the torture of waiting
Portia tells Bassanio not to go for the casket right away. She wants him to wait for some time before taking the ‘hazard’. She fears that if Bassanio chooses unwisely, she will lose his company, which she doesn’t want to happen. However, Bassanio tells her that he is not able to bear the suspense anymore as it tortures him.
Bassanio makes the right choice
Bassanio takes a look at the caskets. To inspire her lover in the right direction, Portia tells the musicians to play a song having the message that outer appearance doesn’t matter. Bassanio reads the inscriptions and declares that the glare of gold and silver do not tempt him. At last he chooses the lead casket. Portia mentions her elation. Bassanio finds the portrait of Portia in the lead casket. He has won the lottery!
Portia accepts him as her husband
Portia willingly accepts Bassanio as her husband. After that, Portia gives him a ring and tells him never to lose it. Bassanio is so much in love with his wife that he tells her that only death can part him from the ring. While they were enjoying their nuptial, Gratiano and Nerissa announce that they are also in love with each other and with their master’s and mistress’ consent, would also like to marry. The permission is granted.
News of Antonio reaches Bassanio
The happiness of the scene is interrupted by the arrival of Lorenzo, Jessica and Salerio. They have brought Antonio’s letter to Bassanio. The letter contains bad news that all of Antonio’s ships have been wrecked. All colour fades away from Bassanio’s face when he reads the letter. Portia wants to share his anxieties.
Bassanio informs Portia about Antonio
Bassanio now tells her about his true financial conditions and Antonio, who had helped him with money so that he could make a voyage to Belmont and present himself as an eligible suitor to Portia. He further narrates to her the terms of the bond and how Antonio was then going to pay for it as he had no money left.
Nothing could soothe the villainous Jew
Salerio informs him that Shylock is mad with anger and seeks to have his revenge. Many have tried to change his mind but he is adamant about getting the terms of the bond executed. Jessica also says that she had heard her father talking to his friends that nothing would be more satisfying to him than making Antonio pay.
Portia is willing to help
Hearing that Antonio was the one who helped her husband and that he was also very dear to him, Portia comes forward to help Antonio. She tells Bassanio that he can take her money and repay Shylock even if takes twice or thrice the amount. However, before that she wants Bassanio to marry her and then leave for Venice at once. She also says that she and Nerissa would wait for their return.
Act 5 : Scene 1