Can someone please summarize Act 3 scenes 4 and 5 of The Merchant of Venice?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scene 4 of Act III begins with Portia talking to Lorenzo. She leaves Belmont in the care of Lorenzo and Jessia, because she and Nerissa are going to a monastery to spend time in prayer until their husbands return. However, when Lorenzo and Jessica leave, Portia tells her servant to take a letter to her cousin Dr. Bellario, a famous lawyer, and to bring any instructions and items he responds with to the ferry, where she and Nerissa will be waiting to leave. The messenger quickly exits, and Portia tells Nerissa that they are going to follow their husbands to Venice, but dressed as men, for reasons that she will reveal on their journey.

Scene 5 is a short scene of comic relief, where Launcelot mocks Jessica about her racial roots, arguing that because she is a Jew, she has no hope of salvation. However, at this point, Lorenzo comes in and reveals that Launcelot has gotten a black woman pregnant. The two engage in a battle of wits but all in good nature, before Launcelot leaves. Lorenzo and Jessica are left on stage to show their love for one another before they go in for dinner.