Merchant of Venice: Brief Summary
Bassanio a gentleman of
Venice requires 3000 ducats to pay for his travel
expenses to Belmont. Bassanio wishes the money as he is
seeking to wed the Heiress Portia. Bassanio turns to his
good friend Antonio, who is a wealthy merchant.
Unfortunately, Antonio's money is tied up on Ships doing
business. He, however has offered to be Guarantor, they
attempt to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock.
Shylock reluctantly agrees, but on the condition that if
he doesn't pay the 3000 Ducats by three months than,
Antonio has to give up a pound of his flesh, closest to
the heart. They agree to the Bond.
Portia, in her home at
Belmont has been visited by many suitors. From her dead
fathers wishes her suitors were required to choose
between a lead, silver, or a gold casket. The one who
chooses the casket containing her portrait, would be her
husband. No man has yet chosen the correct casket.
Jessica, the daughter of Shylock wishes to change into
Christianity, against her father's will and marry the
Christian Lorenzo. She runs away with him, and takes some
of her father's fortune. Shylock is furious and vows
Bassanio with friend Gratiano travel to Belmont
to, Portia is delighted to hear this, as he is the one
she wants to marry. Before hand the prince of Morocco and
the prince of Aragon had tried but failed to choose the
correct casket. Bassanio takes his time in choosing the
casket - he chooses the lead casket; the correct one.
Gratiano, woes Nerissa, and the four prepare to be wed.
Bassanio's friends arrive with a messenger, he receives a
letter from Venice, it said that Antonio's ship had not
yet arrived and Shylock was demanding his pound of flesh,
as the money had not been paid. Bassanio is extremely
upset about this news. Portia reassures him and offers to
pay any amount possible or do anything she can. The men
set off back to Venice.
Portia along with Nerrissa
conduct a plan to help Antonio, they tell Lorenzo and
Jessica to mind the house while they wait for their
husbands in a monastery. They plan to dress up as Lawyers
in order to defend Antonio in court.
The two women enter
the courtroom with a message that the doctor Balthasar
(Portia) has being sent to replace the original doctor,
Bellario. Portia begins her case with a plea for mercy,
she begs him to forfeit the bond and accept three times
the amount. Shylock refuses, as he wants to take his
revenge on the Christains who have criticized him because
he is a Jew.
Portia then reads the bond and discovers
that Shylock is only allowed to take one pound of
Antonio's flesh. She tells him that he can take his pound
of flesh on the condition that he takes exactly one pound
of flesh and only flesh. No blood shall be shed. Shylock
is forced to forfeit the bond, if he does go outside the
conditions than he too will be punished. Since he
forfeited the bond, but threatened the life on a
Venetian, Shylock was forced to give up his money, half
to Antonio the other half to the general state. Antonio
takes pity on the Jew and declines his half of the money,
he tells the court that Shylock can keep his money, but
on the condition that he change into Christianity and
leave his money to his daughter on his death. The Jew
The men gratefully thank doctor
Balthasar and her clerk, they offer them anything they
desire. Portia and Nerissa both ask for Bassanio's and
gratiano's rings. Reluctantly they hand it to them, as it
was a present from their wives who told them never to
Portia and Nerissa return home, soon after
Bassanio, Antonio, and Gratiano return with the good
news. Portia and Nerrissa demand to know what happened to
the rings, the men apologized and explained the
situation. Portia and Nerissa show them the rings and
explain that they were the two doctors.