The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. It is on one hand a romantic comedy but the themes of mercy, justice and religious intolerance keep modern audiences enthralled.
A Venetian merchant, Antonio, arranges a loan with Shylock enabling his friend Bassanio to court the heiress Portia. The bond states that if Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock is entitled to a pound of flesh. Bassanio successfully woos Portia. Antonio’s wealth is lost and Shylock demands the pound of flesh in court. Portia disguises herself as a lawyer and successfully defends Antonio. Shylock is stripped of his wealth.