Merchant of Venice Short Summary
As the play written by William Shakespeare begins, Antonio is pouring out his worries about not being in a happy mood to Salarino and Salanio, his close friends. They tell him it is probably because of his merchandise and unsatisfactory love life. Later, they meet Lorenzo accompanied by Gratiano and Bassanio. Gratiano makes inquiries on dinner plans and notes that Antonio looks worried. Antonio responds that it is just a phase of life.
Meanwhile, Portia discusses with her maid, Nerissa, about who would make a perfect husband to Portia. Out of all the men, it is Bassanio that fits. At the same Antonio does not have enough money to lend Bassanio. Therefore, Bassanio seeks help from Shylock. He is Jewish and is allowed to lend money, unlike the Catholic. Antonio receives $500,000 to be returned within three months.
Shylock hopes Bassanio can fail to pay the loan so that he can cut off Antonio’s (guarantor) finger. That should be enough punishment for anti-Semitic behavior that Antonio shows Shylock.
Lorenzo’s love for Jessica, the daughter of Shylock makes things harder for Antonio. Gratiano also wants to marry Nerissa. Antonio is finally arrested when unable to repay the loan. Just before the marriage between Bassanio/Portia and Gratiano/Nerissa, they return to Venice to save Antonio.
Portia and Nerissa go to court as lawyers. At first, Balthazar (Portia) rules in favor of Shylock. However, the contract is that the Shylock should cut the flesh without drawing any blood. Shylock is forced to become a Christian.
Later in Belmont, the ladies disclose how they decided the case in Venice. Their fiancés do not have the promised rings. Antonio can now be happy because his merchandise finally makes it to the store safely. There is a celebration of victory for the couples and Antonio at the end.