ICSE Class 9 Answered
Act I Scene i
Antonio is a rich Christian merchant from Venice. He despises the Jews especially Shylock and spares no chance of humiliating him. He currently awaits the return of his ships which carry the profits of all his investments engaged in business ventures abroad. The ships are to arrive in the next two years. In the mean time friend Bassanio who is in love with a wealthy heiress from Belmont named Portia is in need of money. Bassanio wishes to win her over but cannot do so unless he competes for her hand with the other suitors. Antonio is unable to lend Bassanio any money to pursue his love due to his investments and suggests that he should take a loan from another money lender with him (Antonio) as his guarantor.
Act I Scene ii
In the meantime Portia and her lady-in-waiting, Nerissa await for her destined suitor. They are unhappy with the suitors who approach them and find some fault in each of them. They are also unhappy with her father’s manner of finding a suitor for her whereby the candidates have to guess which casket among the three, gold, silver and lead contains her portrait. Moreover, the one who failed to find the right casket would have to forego marrying for the rest of his life. While they reminiscent over these facts they remember Bassanio, a bachelor who had visited once before and assert that he would be the most fitting suitor for her.
Act I Scene iii
Bassanio along with Antonio visit Shylock a Jewish moneylender. When Antonio and Shylock meet they openly criticise each other and throw curses at each other. However Shylock still agrees to lend three thousand ducats to Bassanio for a period of three months without any interest with Antonio as the guarantor. He lays only one condition all be it in a joking manner. He demands a pound of Antonio’s flesh should the friends fail to pay him back in the stipulated time period.