Merchant of Venice
Despite being written in the late sixteenth century, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice is a timeless piece and provides great themes to be analyzed for purposes of a book report. The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's less popular comedies, having been plagued in recent times with complaints of anti-Semitic themes. The summary of this really has to do with the character Shylock, a caricature of a greedy, Jewish money-lender. The two main characters of the story are a Venetian merchant, Antonio, and his Bassanio, who is in love with a wealthy heiress named Portia. Bassanio wants to propose to Portia but needs money to travel and appear worthy of her. Antonio wants to lend the money to Bassanio but his monies are all tied up in ships that are still at sea. He suggests that Bassanio approach Shylock for the loan and use Anthony's name as the guarantor.
Shylock does not like Antonio because he lends money without seeking interest. Despite this, Shylock agrees to loan Bassanio the money with the condition that if the loan is not re-paid, Shylock is entitled to a (literal) pound of Antonio's flesh. Despite Bassanio's objections, Antonio agrees to the summary of Shylock's conditions. Meanwhile, Portia and her lady-in-waiting, Nerissa are upset to learn the terms of her father's will with regards to her marriage. Her future husband must pick the correct of three caskets in order to marry Portia. Portia is in love with Bassanio and fears he won't pick the correct casket.
Summaries of The Merchant of Venice continue with Shylock's daughter, Jessica, sneaking away to marry Antonio's friend, Lorenzo. Bassanio and his friend, Graziano, are departing to see Portia. Other suitors have arrived in Belmont, meanwhile, to guess at the caskets and win Portia's hand in marriage. The Prince of Morocco chooses the gold casket, which is incorrect. The Prince of Aragon chooses the silver casket, which also proved to be wrong. Bassanio finally arrives; he and Portia declare their love for one another and Bassanio correctly chooses the lead casket.
Shylock realizes his daughter has left and is furious, but is comforted when hearing that Antonio's ships have wrecked, meaning he can collect on his pound of flesh. Graziano, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Nerissa. The two couples plan a double wedding but their plans are cut short when they received news from Venice. It said that Antonio's ships had not yet arrived and his life is now in danger because Shylock is demanding for his pound of flesh for exchange of the money that not yet paid. Bassanio and Graziano return to Venice to try and save Antonio.
Portia and Nerissa make a plan to help Antonio and they’re plan is to dress up as a lawyers of Antonio. Meanwhile, two of Antonio’s ships have been wrecked and then his creditors ask for repayment. This news came to Bassanio so that he back to Venice in hurry leaving Portia. He didn’t know that Portia follows him with Nerissa and pretended as a male lawyer. A trial is called and a legal expert arrives to partake in the trial. That expert is Portia in disguise. Portia agrees that the pound of flesh is due to Shylock but says there is no agreement to blood, and therefore Shylock can only collect the flesh if he can do it without causing Antonio to bleed. Shylock knows he cannot do that and says he will just take the money, but Portia then informs him he is guilty for conspiring to kill Antonio and Shylock is spared only after agreeing to convert to Christianity and he must leave all of his assets to his daughter and Lorenzo when he dies.
Bassanio and Graziano return to Belmont, not having recognized Portia and Nerissa in disguise. When Antonio receives the good news that his ships have in fact not wrecked. Portia and Nerissa went home after Bassanio, Graziano and Antonio and ask the three men about the rings pretending they didn’t know. But after all they say the truth and show them the rings and explain that they pretend to be the doctors. At the end, they all celebrate a happy ending except for Shylock.