The Merchant of Venice – ACT SUMMARIES

ACT 1 – scene 1 – Antonio is really down and depressed (because his friend Bassanio is depressed). -Willing to pay for Bassanio’s trip to Belmont.- To fund the trip, Antonio must borrow money from Shylock.
ACT 1 – scene 2 -Portia is waiting to find the right man to be her husband. However any who steps forward must take a test organised by her Father before he passed away.-Bassanio is the only possible suitor she has come across because of his looks. She judges everyone very harshly.rejected:A young English baronScottish lordFrench Lord
ACT 1 – scene 3 -Shylock comes to an agreement with Antonio to lend him 3,000 ducats. However Shylock says that if the debt is not paid within 3 months he will take a pound of flesh from Antonio (He will kill him).
ACT 4 -In the trial Antonio is prepared to die at the hands of Shylock as Shylock sees no option or alternative than to carry out the punishment agreed on the bond.-Portia tries to save Antonia by going undercover as a clerk. She insists shylock shows forgiveness but is fair in the terms that whatever is written on the bond is the punishment agreed.-Shylock refuses to carry out any punishment other than taking Antonio’s life as he pulls out his knifed scales. Antonio gets extremely stressed with Bassanio worried sick and Gratiano enraged.-Portia points out flow in the bond.-Shylock is no longer the victim and he is told to turn into a Christian and give his money to Lorenzo and Jessica.-Portia and Nerissa insits Antonio and Bassanio hand over their rings, which they do.
ACT 2 – scene 1 In Belmont, the prince of Morocco arrives to attempt to win Portia’s hand in marriage. The prince asks Portia not to judge him by his dark complexion, assuring her that he is as valorous as any European man. Portia reminds the prince that her own tastes do not matter, since the process of picking chests, stipulated in her father’s will, makes the prince as worthy as any other suitor.
ACT 2 – scene 2 Launcelot Gobbo is not sure of he wants to run away from Shylock. He seems to be troubled that his master is Jewish. -Plays a trick on his Father.-Both persuade Bassanio to make Launcelot Gobbo his servant.
ACT 2 – scene 3 Shylocks daughter Jessica bids good-bye to Launcelot. Give Launcelot a letter to carry to Lorenzo (Bassanios friend).It is revealed that Jessica is ashamed she is the daughter of shylock and expresses her desire to escape the “Hell house”
ACT 2 scene 4 Lorenzo and friends create a plan to help Jessica escape.
ACT 2 – scene 5 Shylock warns Launcelot that Bassanio will not be as lenient a master as Shylock himself has been, and that Launcelot will no longer be at liberty to overeat and oversleep.
ACT 2 – scene 6 Lorenzo calls to Jessica and they escape, with her being disguised as his torchbearer.Jessica throws down casket of jewels and gold.
ACT 2 -scene 7,8 and 9 Morocco chooses wrong casket (gold) and Portia is relieved as a result.Shylock enraged at the loss of money and daughter. Solanio informs him of rumours that Antonios ships have capsized in the English Channel.Prince of Aragon tries his luck with caskets but fails. Portia told a young Venetian man is on his way to try which she hopes is Bassanio – and it is.
ACT 3 – scenes 1 and 2 Salarino and Solanio discuss the rumors that yet another of Antonio’s ships has been wrecked. They are joined by Shylock, who accuses them of having helped Jessica escape. The two Venetians proudly take credit for their role in Jessica’s elopement. Shylock curses his daughter’s rebellion.Tubal announces that he cannot find Jessica. Shylock rants against his daughter, and he wishes her dead as he bemoans his losses. He is especially embittered when Tubal reports that Jessica has taken a ring—given to Shylock in his bachelor days by a woman named Leah, presumably Jessica’s mother—and has traded that ring for a monkey. Shylock’s spirits brighten, however, when Tubal reports that Antonio’s ships have run into trouble and that Antonio’s creditors are certain Antonio is ruined.Bassanio picks right casket and Salarino gives a letter to Bassanio. In the letter, Antonio writes that all of his ships are lost, and that Shylock plans to collect his pound of flesh.
ACT 3 – scenes 3 -Shylock escorts Antonio to prison. Antonio tries to plead with Shylock but Shylock is not taking anything in – he remembers fine well what Antonio has done to him in the past.
ACT 3 – scene 4 Portia sends her servant, Balthasar, to Padua, where he is to meet her cousin, Doctor Bellario, who will provide Balthasar with certain documents and clothing. From there, Balthasar will take the ferry to Venice, where Portia will await him. After Balthasar departs, Portia informs Nerissa that the two of them, dressed as young men, are going to pay an incognito visit to their new husbands. When Nerissa asks why, Portia dismisses the question, but promises to disclose the whole of her purpose on the coach ride to Venice.