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" To her, both of these men are shallow and greedy and self-centered; yet to their faces, she is as ladylike as possible.Lorenzo appreciates this gentle generosity of spirit; when Portia has allowed her new husband to leave to try and help his best friend out of his difficulty, he says to her: "You have a noble and a true conceit / Of god-like amity." In the courtroom, Portia (in disguise) speaks to Shylock about mercy, but this is not merely an attempt to stall; she truly means what she says. Her request for mercy comes from her habitual goodness." And then she ticks off, like a computer, the eccentricities of the six suitors who have arrived at Belmont to try for her hand.
Finally, of course, what we most remember about Portia, after the play is over, is her wit and her playfulness.
Even when Portia is complaining to Nerissa about the terms of her father's will, she does so wittily: "Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?
Bassanio’s love for Portia brought certain maturity that allowed him to realise, “Look on beauty,/And you shall see ‘tis purchased by the weight/…/thou meagre lead,/Which rather threaten’st than dost promise aught,/Thy paleness moved me more than eloquence…” (III. Trial, both literal and figurative, are amazing theatrical devices; this creates drama and gives, both the audience and the reader, the ability to empathise with, understand or even grow to despise a character.
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She bets Nerissa that she can out-man any man when it comes to swaggering and playing the macho bit: "I have within my mind / A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, / Which I will practise." Men are as transparent as stale beer to her; she revels in turning the tables and having a bit of fun even while she is on a daring mission to try and save Antonio's life.
And even in the courtroom, when Bassanio extravagantly offers his life for Antonio's, Portia quips in an aside that "Your wife would give you little thanks for that, / If she were by, to hear you make the offer." The entire ring plot is Portia's idea, and she and Nerissa relish the prospect of the jest at their husbands' expense.Bassanio's correct choice of the casket overwhelms Portia.She wishes she had more of everything to give Bassanio: "This house, these servants and this same myself / Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring." She willingly shares all she owns with Bassanio.She has fallen in love with him, and her anxiety and confusion undo her."Pause a day or two," she begs, for "in choosing wrong, / I lose your company." She thus makes sure that he knows that it is not hate that she feels for him.She hopes, of course, to soften his heart, knowing the outcome if he refuses.But the words come from her heart, honestly and openly and naturally.She is clearly glad to be rid of them all when it is announced that they are departing.We recall too the humorous way that she imagines dressing like a man and aping the mannerisms of all of the men she has observed in her short life.They will be married, but their love will not be consummated until his friend is saved, if possible.Portia's second characteristic that is most readily apparent is her graciousness — that is, her tact and sympathy.