The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

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In The Merchant of Venice, what are the relationships between Portia and Nerissa and Portia and Bassanio? 

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When we encounter Portia we discover that she is a wealthy heiress on the cusp of inheriting her father's entire estate if she meets the terms of his will - that she should marry the suitor who chooses the right casket. She is constantly accompanied by Nerissa who is her lady-in-waiting and also her closest confidante. 

The close personal attachment between the two women is clearly conveyed in the manner in which they communicate. Portia hardly sees Nerissa as a servant but deems her a friend. She divulges and shares all her thoughts, feelings, desires and frustrations with her. Their relationship is obviously founded on a deep trust and respect for each other. Furthermore, their bond is clearly the result of a long-standing association which had been established when both were much younger. The two appear to be of the same or a similar age and would thus understand each other better, easing their conversation since they would essentially be speaking 'the same language.' 


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