A line-by-line translation

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Table of Contents

When Antonio obtains a loan of money from Shylock to help his friend Bassanio woo the wealthy Portia, Shylock makes a stark bargain. If Antonio fails to pay Shylock back, Shylock demands a pound of Antonio’s flesh. As Bassanio and Portia fall in love, Antonio gets into trouble over the money. Dressed as a man, Portia brings Shylock to court. But will her efforts be enough to save her beloved’s best friend? The Shakescleare modern English translation of The Merchant of Venice makes it easy to decipher Shakespeare’s complex language and decipher the play’s most notable quotes, like “All that glisters is not gold,” “in the end, truth will out,” and Shylock’s famous “I am a Jew. Hath / not a Jew eyes?” speech.

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.