Bassanio's need is urgent, for he loves the beautiful lady Portia and desires to marry her.
Meantime in Belmont many lovers come to woo fair Portia. With high hope they come, with anger and disappointment they go away.
This trial of all suitors had been ordered by Portia's father ere he died, so that only a worthy and true man might win his daughter.
And Portia, happy, triumphant, humble, no longer the great lady with untold wealth, with lands and palaces and radiant beauty, but merely a woman who has given her love, answers:--
Then as a pledge of all her love Portia gives to Bassanio a ring, and bids him never part from it so long as he shall live.
And then as if to make the joy complete, it is discovered that Portia's lady in waiting, Nerissa, and Bassanio's friend, Gratiano, also love each other, and they all agree to be married on the same day.
"Oh," cries Portia when she hears, "what a paltry sum!
But Portia has no mind to sit at home and do nothing while her husband's friend is in danger of his life.
This is, of course, none other than Portia. She is admitted, and at once begins the case.
Portia will surely understand that his request could not be refused, and so he sends Gratiano after him with the ring.