The Merchant of VeniceBassanio, a young Venetian, wants to travel to Belmont to woo the beautiful heiress Portia. So he asks his friend Antonio, a merchant, to lend him 3000 ducats. As all of Antonio's ships and merchandise are on the sea, Antonio goes to a the Jewish moneylender Shylock for a loan. Shylock, hostile with Antonio because he had spat on him the previous day, proposes a malicious condition. If Antonio will be unable to repay the loan at the specified date, Shylock will be free to take a pound of Antonio's flesh. Although Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such condition, Antonio signs the agreement. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont.
At Belmont, Portia has no lack of suitors. Portia's father, however, has left a will stipulating each of her suitors to choose one of three caskets: one each of gold, silver, and lead. To be granted an opportunity to marry Portia, a suitor have to choose the correct casket.
After two suitors, the Princes of Morocco and Aragon choose incorrectly, Bassanio makes the correct choice, that of the leaden casket.
At Venice, all Antonio's ships are reported lost at sea, leaving him unable to satisfy the bond. Shylock is determined to revenge of the Christians after his daughter Jessica leaves his home to convert to Christianity and elope with the Christian Lorenzo, taking a substantial amount of Shylock's money with her. With the bond at hand, Shylock has makes Antonio arrested and brought before court.
At Belmont, Portia and Bassanio have just been married, when he receives a letter telling him that Antonio has defaulted on his loan from Shylock. Shocked, Bassanio leaves for Venice immediately, with money from Portia, to save Antonio's life.
At the court of the Duke of Venice, Shylock refuses Bassanio' s offer and demands the pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke refers the case to Balthasar, a young male lawyer who is actually Portia in disguise. She says that Shylock is only allows to remove the flesh, not blood, of Antonio. If Shylock will shed any drop of Antonio's blood, he will be arrested and condemned to death. But, instead of death, Antonio proposes that Shylock converts to Christianity and gives all his property to Lorenzo and Jessica.