The Merchant of Venice | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "The Merchant of Venice Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 24 Sep. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "The Merchant of Venice Study Guide." February 27, 2017. Accessed September 24, 2023.


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The Merchant of Venice | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • One day

    Bassanio asks Antonio for 3,000 ducats so he will look rich when he courts Portia.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • At the same time

    Portia entertains suitors who try to win her hand in marriage by solving her father's riddle.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Later that day

    To get a loan for Bassanio from Shylock, Antonio stakes a pound of his own flesh as collateral.

    Act 1, Scene 3
  • Afterward

    Bassanio prepares to leave for Belmont, hires Launcelot Gobbo, and agrees to take Gratiano with him.

    Act 2, Scene 2
  • That night

    Jessica and Lorenzo elope; Jessica takes with her as much of her father's fortune as she can carry.

    Act 2, Scene 6
  • At the same time

    Bassanio and Gratiano depart for Belmont.

    Act 2, Scene 6
  • Meanwhile

    The Prince of Morocco attempts to solve Portia's father's riddle and fails.

    Act 2, Scene 7
  • The next day

    Shylock is seen in the city lamenting the loss of his daughter and his money.

    Act 2, Scene 8
  • A few days later

    The Prince of Arragon fails to solve Portia's father's riddle; Portia welcomes Bassanio.

    Act 2, Scene 9
  • Later

    Bassanio solves Portia's father's riddle; Gratiano declares his intention to marry Nerissa.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • The same day

    Antonio defaults and Shylock wants his pound of flesh; Bassanio and Gratiano return to Venice.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Some days later

    The Duke of Venice hears Shylock's case against Antonio.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Same day

    Disguised as Balthazar, Portia finds a loophole in the loan contract that saves Antonio's life.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Afterward

    Shylock loses his fortune and is forced to convert to Christianity for trying to kill Antonio.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Same day

    As Balthazar, Portia asks Bassanio for his wedding ring as payment, which he gives her.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Some days later

    At Belmont Portia shows Bassanio the ring and pretends to have cheated on him with Balthazar.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • Same time

    The couples reconcile when Portia reveals her disguise; Antonio learns his ships have returned.

    Act 5, Scene 1

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 Salarino and Solanio, two Venetian merchants, notice their friend Antonio has been out of sorts lately. Antonio has sent... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 Portia tells her servant and friend Nerissa of her frustration and weariness at the suitors who have swarmed her home se... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 Bassanio negotiates with Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow 3,000 ducats for three months in Antonio's name. Shylo... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 The Prince of Morocco greets Portia upon his arrival at Belmont, saying "Mislike me not for my complexion" and telling h... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 Launcelot Gobbo works for Shylock as a servant, but he is debating whether or not to leave his job and seek a new master... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 Jessica bids Launcelot Gobbo goodbye as he prepares to leave her father's service. She tells him he has been a source of... Read More
Act 2, Scene 4 Lorenzo makes plans with Gratiano, Salarino, and Solanio to "slink away in supper time" and disguise themselves to prepa... Read More
Act 2, Scene 5 Launcelot brings Shylock an invitation to Bassanio's dinner, and Shylock tells Launcelot he will be able to judge the di... Read More
Act 2, Scene 6 Gratiano and Salarino meet Lorenzo outside Shylock's house, speaking about the wonders of love to pass the time because ... Read More
Act 2, Scene 7 The Prince of Morocco undertakes the challenge left by Portia's father. He is to choose between three "caskets" or chest... Read More
Act 2, Scene 8 Salarino and Solanio meet in the city square to review recent events. They have seen Bassanio set sail with Gratiano, bu... Read More
Act 2, Scene 9 The Prince of Arragon attempts the challenge of choosing between the three caskets to find Portia's portrait and win her... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 Salarino and Solanio reflect on the news that another of Antonio's ships has been reported lost in "the Goodwins." They ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 Portia wants Bassanio to wait a few days before he undertakes her father's challenge, fearing he might choose wrong and ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 Shylock and Salarino accompany Antonio to jail. Shylock mocks Antonio for lending money without interest. Antonio wants ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 With Bassanio and Gratiano on their way to Venice, Portia makes her own preparations to depart Belmont. Lorenzo thanks h... Read More
Act 3, Scene 5 Launcelot and Jessica talk in the gardens at Belmont, and Launcelot tells Jessica she should hope Shylock isn't really h... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 Shylock and Antonio appear before the Duke of Venice. Shylock demands fulfillment of the letter of their contract, and A... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Portia instructs Nerissa to go to Shylock's home and have him sign the deed that gives his property to Jessica and Loren... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 Jessica and Lorenzo enjoy the moonlight in Belmont and compare the night—and themselves—with doomed lovers from classica... Read More
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