Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains to his friends of a sadness that he cannot explain. His friend Bassanio is desperately in need of money to court Portia, a wealthy heiress who lives in the city of Belmont. Bassanio asks Antonio for a loan in order to travel in style to Portia’s estate. Antonio agrees, but is unable to make the loan himself because his own money is all invested in a number of trade ships that are still at sea. Antonio suggests that Bassanio secure the loan from one of the city’s moneylenders. The Jew Shylock agrees to lend Bassanio the money, but when Antonio can’t repay the loan, without mercy, Shylock demands a pound of his flesh….
The Merchant of Venice is about the power of Mercy against darkness of revenge.