Merchant of Venice – Act Summaries


Shylock furiously criticises the Christians for their prejudice. He explains that he will have revenge on them, as that is what they would do to him. Tubal explains that all of Antonio’s ships are sunk.


Bassanio arrives in Belmont; he chooses the correct casket. Gratiano announces that he wants to marry Nerissa, with whom he who he has fallen in love. Both couples marry.

Bassanio receives a letter explaining that Antonio must forfeit the bond – and die. Portia says she will give him nine-thousand ducats to repay the bond. He returns to Venice.


The Christians beg for mercy – Shylock insists that he will see them in court.


Portia and Nerissa plan to attend the court hearing dressed as men; Portia will pose as a lawyer. Their new husbands will not recognise them.