Get all the key plot points of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice on one page. Get the entire The Merchant of Venice LitChart as a printable PDF. The Merchant of Venice. Plot Summary. 1º) The solutions are in bold. A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats so that he can woo. Read a Plot Overview of the entire play or a scene by scene Summary and Analysis. Read The Merchant of Venice alongside a modern English translation.
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1. Summary of “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. Introduction: The play takes place in Venice, Italy and Belmont, Portia's home, during the. Antonio, a leading merchant of Venice, is a wealthy, respected, and popular man. Among his many friends is a young man named Bassanio, who owes Antonio. The Merchant of Venice was probably written in either or , after In Venice, Antonio and Bassanio approach Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, for a.
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However, if Antonio defaults, Shylock will be entitled to cut one pound of flesh from anywhere on Antonio's body that he likes. Confident that his ships will return to Venice, with many times ducats, well before Shylock's deadline, Antonio accepts. At Belmont, the Prince of Morocco arrives to try his luck at the riddle of the caskets.
He chooses incorrectly gold , and leaves in defeat. Meanwhile, in Venice, Lorenzo , a friend of Bassanio's, has fallen in love with Shylock's daughter, Jessica. One night, when Shylock goes out, Jessica steals a large sum of money from her father and elopes, as planned, with Lorenzo. Lorenzo and Jessica, along with many others, then travel with Bassanio to Portia's estate.
The Prince of Aragon is the next of Portia's suitors to try to solve the riddle of the caskets. After much deliberation, he chooses silver, which is wrong. As the Prince of Aragon leaves, Bassanio arrives, laden with gifts for Portia. A few weeks pass, and news arrives that Antonio's ships have been lost at sea. Though Shylock has been unable to locate Jessica, he consoles himself that he will have his revenge in the form of the pound of flesh promised to him by his contract with Antonio.
Back at Belmont, Portia and Bassanio, who have spent all this time together, have fallen in love. Portia begs Bassanio to wait before facing the riddle, because she can't bear the thought of losing him if he guesses wrong.
But he insists on going ahead. To their joy, he chooses the correct casket lead. To seal their betrothal, Portia gives him a ring , instructing him never to lose it or give it away.
Then Nerissa and Bassanio's vulgar friend Gratiano announce that they, too, intend to wed. However, just then, a letter arrives from Antonio, with news of his lost ships and Shylock's intention to collect his pound of flesh. Alarmed, Portia gives Bassanio enough money to repay the loan many times over. As Bassanio hurries off to Venice, Portia hatches a plan of her own to save Antonio. In the court of Venice, the Duke is presiding over Antonio's trial. Shylock resists their requests that he show mercy and insists on pursuing his "pound of flesh," despite the fact that Bassanio has offered him ducats instead.
Nerissa and Portia arrive on the scene, disguised as a law clerk and a lawyer, respectively.
Portia points out that the contract Shylock holds doesn't give him the right to take any blood from Antonio, and that if Shylock sheds even a drop of blood while cutting Antonio's flesh that all of Shylock's wealth will be confiscated by the state.
She further finds Shylock guilty of conspiring to kill a Venetian citizen, and therefore must hand over half of his wealth to Antonio and the other half to the state.
Antonio and the Duke decide to show mercy, however: Shylock must only give half his wealth to Antonio, and promise to leave the other half of his wealth to Jessica and Lorenzo after his death. In addition, Shylock must convert to Christianity. Devastated, Shylock accepts. As Portia is leaving, Bassanio who still thinks she is Balthazar , the lawyer tries to offer her money in thanks for her favorable judgment.
She refuses, asking for his the ring that he is wearing instead. Thinking of his vow never to part with it, Bassanio hesitates.
But after some prodding from Antonio, he gives in. Gratiano also gives his ring to Nerissa.
Back at Belmont, Lorenzo and Jessica have been enjoying an idyllic romantic evening. The women feign indignation that their husbands lost their rings. However, they soon end the game and confess their role in the court scene.
The couples are reconciled, and news arrives that Antonio's lost ships have returned safely to port, bearing great riches. Which guides should we add? Request one! Sign In Sign Up.
Plot Summary. Generosity Reading and Interpretation Love and Friendship.
All Symbols Stones, Rings, and Caskets. Despite Bassanio's warnings, Antonio agrees. In Shylock's own household, his servant Lancelot decides to leave Shylock's service to work for Bassanio, and Shylock's daughter Jessica schemes to elope with Antonio's friend Lorenzo. That night, the streets of Venice fill up with revelers, and Jessica escapes with Lorenzo by dressing as his page.
After a night of celebration, Bassanio and his friend Graziano leave for Belmont, where Bassanio intends to win Portia's hand. In Belmont, Portia welcomes the prince of Morocco, who has come in an attempt to choose the right casket to marry her. The prince studies the inscriptions on the three caskets and chooses the gold one, which proves to be an incorrect choice.
In Venice, Shylock is furious to find that his daughter has run away, but rejoices in the fact that Antonio's ships are rumored to have been wrecked and that he will soon be able to claim his debt. In Belmont, the prince of Aragon also visits Portia. He, too, studies the caskets carefully, but he picks the silver one, which is also incorrect.
Bassanio arrives at Portia's estate, and they declare their love for one another. Despite Portia's request that he wait before choosing, Bassanio immediately picks the correct casket, which is made of lead. He and Portia rejoice, and Graziano confesses that he has fallen in love with Nerissa. The couples decide on a double wedding.
Portia gives Bassanio a ring as a token of love, and makes him swear that under no circumstances will he part with it. They are joined, unexpectedly, by Lorenzo and Jessica.
The celebration, however, is cut short by the news that Antonio has indeed lost his ships, and that he has forfeited his bond to Shylock.
Bassanio and Graziano immediately travel to Venice to try and save Antonio's life.
After they leave, Portia tells Nerissa that they will go to Venice disguised as men. Shylock ignores the many pleas to spare Antonio's life, and a trial is called to decide the matter.
The duke of Venice, who presides over the trial, announces that he has sent for a legal expert, who turns out to be Portia disguised as a young man of law. Portia asks Shylock to show mercy, but he remains inflexible and insists the pound of flesh is rightfully his. Bassanio offers Shylock twice the money due him, but Shylock insists on collecting the bond as it is written.