||Antonio is the MOV. His business relies upon overseas trading throughout Europe. At the start all of Antonio’s money is invested in ships, which are still as sea.Antonio is sad but does not know why. Salerio and Solanio comfort Antonio.Bassanio enters. Requests to borrow money, as he would like to visit Belmont, where Portia lives, but knows that he should not arrive empty handed. Although Bassanio is still in great debt to Antonio, Antonio agrees to borrow money and give it to his friend.Portia is in Belmont, and awaits nervously for various suitors. Antonio and Bassanio go to Shylock, a Jewish money lender and a bitter enemy of Antonio. Shylock agrees to lend the sum of 3000 ducats if Antonio is to be bound by law to pay it back. Instead of Shylock charging interest, Shylock says he will take a pound of Antonio’s flesh, if the loan is not paid within 3 months.
||The prince of Morocco arrives to take the test.Jessica is planning to elope with Lorenzo, a Christian. When she finally runs away, she steals Shylocks gold and jewels also.Morocco chooses the wrong casket (the gold casket).Bassanio sets sail for Belmont, whilst the prince of Arragon arrives there. Arragon chooses the silver casket and also fails.
||The news that one of Shylock’s ships has been lost at sea delights Shylock, as he believes he might now have his revenge on Antonio, for the terrible way that Antonio has treated him. Shylock discovers the loss of his “precious jewels” and daughter. He is angry and distressed. Bassanio arrives in belmont. Portia would actually like to marry him. She desperately wants him to choose the right casket, but cannot give him any help. Bassanio chooses the correct casket, the lead casket.Meanwhile Gratiano, Bassanio’s companion, has fallen in love with Nerissa, Portia’s maid.Before both couples can marry, news arrives from Venice that all of Antonio’s ships have been lost at sea and that Shylock is intent on having his bond.The men leave for Venice to try to pay Antonio’s dept. They are wearings given to them by their wives.Shylock has Antonio arrested and taken to court. Portia sends her cousin, Doctor Bellario, for the costume of a lawyer and a letter recommending her to the Duke of Venice to help Antonio. Lorenzo and Jessica remain in Belmont with Launcelot.
||In court no one is able to make Shylock change his mind about the bond. Not even the Duke of Venice can persuade him. Portia and Nerissa arrive, disguised as a lawyer and his clerk. Portia plays along with Shylocl, saying that he is entitles to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh, cleverly making him insist on following the absolute letter of the law. Effectively Shylock is tricked into behaving without mercy. He is also fooled into incriminating himself regarding his desire to kill Antonio.As Shylock is about to tsar hid knife to Antonio, Portia says that he must not spill so much as one drop of blood. Shylock has been caught out by his own insistence that the bond must be upheld absolutely.Shylock is punished for attempted murder by the confiscation of his wealth and by being forced to convert t Christianity. He does not appear again.
||Portia and Nerissa (in an unrecognisable form) insist upon being given that Bassanio and Gratiano are wearing, as payment for saving their friend.Portia and Nerissa arrive back in Belmont just before their husbands, and pretend that they have never been away. The wives ask to see if their husbands still have their rings. Bassanio and Gratiano are humiliated before Antonio, however all ends well and the wives admit to their joke.