The Merchant of Venice summary – Inhaltsangabe

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The Merchant of Venice summary

  • Bassanio wants to court Portia, a rich Venetian heiress and therefore he needs 3000 duckets
  • Asks Antonio, his friend, if he could loan money
  • Antonio is currently out of money, because his ships are at sea
  • Therefore, Antonio approaches a Jewish moneylender in order to help his friend in need
  • Shylock hates Antonio due to his anti-semitic behaviour
  • Condition: The loan has to be repaid in 12 weeks or he demands a pound of flesh from Antonio
  • Antonio is convinced to gain much money when his ships are back so he accepts it
  • However, his ships are reported as being lost at sea
  • Portia's father challenges her suitors with three caskets in Belmont; one contains his daughters portrait
  • If one of them chooses the correct one, he will be able to marry Portia
  • If not, he must swear not to woo another woman anymore
  • Princes of Morocco and Arragon fail, because they choose the golden and silver casket; Bassanio wins due to altruism
  • During this test, Lorenzo and Shylock's daughter flee; took all the money of Shylock with them
  • Furthermore, numerous creditors demand repayments from Antonio
  • As a reaction, Bassanio goes back to Venice
  • Portia and Nerissa also leave for Venice; are disguised as a male lawyer and his clerk
  • Due to the shipwreck, both are not able to pay the bond until the day of repayment
  • Shylock also does not accept another sum after offering a higher amount of money
  • Jewish moneylender is animated by a desire for revenge because of his daughter and the Christians
  • Portia is allowed to judge; the Duke rejects to take action
  • Portia consents that Shylock exacts his required pound of flesh
  • Condition: Antonio must not bleed; against the Christian law
  • Laws of Venice: somebody who murders has to pay the half of his possession to the opposing party, the other half to the state
  • Shylock admits his defeat
  • Antonio offers the return of his half to Shylock when he converts to Christianity and bequeathes his property to Jessica and Lorenzo
  • Shylock agrees and leaves the court
  • In Belmont Antonio hears that his ships arrived in port safely
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