A line-by-line translation

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Table of Contents

Now you can read The Merchant of Venice alongside a modern translation that anyone can understand. Use the translation to enrich your understanding of Shakespeare's original and avoid getting bogged down in archaic language.

Act 1, Scene 1

Antonio is miserable. Bassanio tells Antonio about his trip to woo Portia and Antonio promises to borrow money for him.

Act 1, Scene 2

Nerissa describes the suitors seeking Portia's favor, a servant announces more have arrived.

Act 1, Scene 3

Bassanio asks Shylock for a loan, Antonio arrives, insults Shylock and agrees to his risky terms.

Act 2, Scene 1

The Prince of Morocco arrives to Portia's house and is told about her father's marriage game. He prepares himself.

Act 2, Scene 2

Lancelot and his father ask to enter Bassanio's service, Gratiano asks to accompany Bassanio on his venture to Belmont.

Act 2, Scene 3

Jessica asks Lancelot to give a letter to Lorenzo since he is leaving Shylock's service.

Act 2, Scene 4

Lorenzo is planning to help Jessica escape as well as to rob her father. He has Launcelot deliver a message to Jessica.

Act 2, Scene 5

Shylock is leaving with Launcelot to go to eat with Bassanio, he locks his house, but Jessica plans to escape.

Act 2, Scene 6

Lorenzo comes to Jessica's house and she leaves to join him. Antonio tells Gratiano that Bassanio is setting sail soon.

Act 2, Scene 7

Morocco must choose a casket to marry Portia, he incorrectly chooses gold and promises to leave her and never marry.

Act 2, Scene 8

Salerio and Solanio discuss how Lorenzo and Jessica escaped, and how upset Shylock was from losing his money and child.

Act 2, Scene 9

The Prince of Aragon plays the marriage game and chooses silver. Portia is told that Bassanio is coming.

Act 3, Scene 1

Antonio's ships have all sunk, meaning he will not be able to repay Shylock. Shylock, angry over Jessica, seeks revenge.

Act 3, Scene 2

Bassanio correctly chooses Portia, Gratiano asks to marry Nerissa, and word from Venice describes Antonio's trouble.

Act 3, Scene 3

Shylock arrests Antonio and will not listen to his pleas, Antonio resigns himself to his fate.

Act 3, Scene 4

Portia and Nerissa plan to follow Bassanio and Gratiano in disguise, leaving their house to Lorenzo and Jessica.

Act 3, Scene 5

Launcelot, Lorenzo and Jessica discuss marriage and relationships. Jessica praises Portia and Lorenzo for their virtue.

Act 4, Scene 1

Antonio is on trial, but Portia (as a lawyer) wins the case for him. Shylock is disgraced. Portia tests her husband.

Act 4, Scene 2

Portia discovers that Bassanio was willing to give away his ring, on Antonio's request, and plans to make him repent.

Act 5, Scene 1

Portia and Nerissa pretend to have slept with the lawyers to win back their rings, the women's plots are revealed.
Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.