Merchant of Venice: Novel Summary: Act 5 Scene 1

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In the final scene of the play, everything is neatly wrapped up.  Portia and Nerissa return home just before their husbands arrive and prepare to greet them.  They pretend to be greatly upset when Bassanio and Gratiano say they have given away their rings.  Bassanio explains that he was in a situation where he had no choice and that Portia would forgive him if she only knew Antonio.  Portia and Nerissa both play on the dramatic irony of the situation and tell their husbands they shall both know the lawyer and clerk to whom the rings were given (i.e. themselves).  Then they present the rings to their husbands as new promise rings and reveal the truth of the matter.  They present Lorenzo with the deed which leaves Shylock's wealth to him upon his death.  They also surprise Anonio with a letter stating that three of his ships have returned safely, and full of riches.  The play ends with the now-happy couples retiring to bed.

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