How does Portia from The Merchant of Venice make Bassanio part with his ring?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Act 4, Shakespeare begins to focus on the ring plot from Merchant of Venice because the bond plot is nowresolved. Bassanio, emotionally high from Antonio's "victory" in the courtroom, encounters the young lawyer (Portia dressed as a man) who saved his friend's life. At this point, Bassanio tries to thank the lawyer by offering him some token of his appreciation.  Portia takes advantage of the situation and most likely had planned this test for Bassanio back in Act 3 when she told Nerissa that she wasgoing to use men's trickery against them. She asks for the ring, knowing that Bassanio will now have to choose between keeping his word to his wife and showing proper respect to the "man" who has rescued Antonio. Bassanio tries to protest but eventually gives the ring to Portia when she tells him that his wife will not hold it against him forever.

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The Merchant of Venice

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