Uploaded by Bhavna Thakkar


ACT I, Scene 1
Antonio, a merchant, is in a melancholic state of mind and unable to find a reason for his
depression. His friends Salanio and Salarino try to cheer him by telling him that he is worried
about his ships returning safely to port. Antonio, however, denies that he is worried about
his ships and remains depressed. They leave after Bassanio, Gratiano and Lorenzo arrive.
Gratiano and Lorenzo remark that Antonio does not look well before exiting, leaving
Bassanio alone with Antonio.
Bassanio informs Antonio that he has been prodigal with his money and that he currently
has accumulated substantial debts. Bassanio reveals that he has come up with a plan to pay
off his obligations by marrying Portia, a wealthy heiress in Belmont. However, in order to
woo Portia, Bassanio needs to borrow enough money so that he can act like a true
nobleman. Antonio tells him that all his money is invested in ships at sea, but offers to
borrow money for him.
Important characters in Act 1 Scene 1:
Antonio: A wealthy Merchant of Venice, Antonio (protagonist) has invested in his ships at
sea. He is not worried about his finances though his ships may be at risk at sea. Antonio
does not know the reason for his sadness. This worries his friends too. His best friend
Bassanio needs money, though Antonio is not able to lend him money. Antonio is willing to
help his friend by borrowing money on his goodwill.
Bassanio: Bassanio is a young gentleman of Venice who has squandered all his fortune and
so he wants to marry rich Portia. A great friend of Antonio’s, he convinces the latter to lend
him the necessary money for him to properly woo Portia. He also tells Antonio about his
plan to repay his loan.
Gratiano: He is Bassanio’s friend. He is talkative and impulsive and a good hearted perfect
gentleman. He tries to play the fool to lighten Antonio’s mood.
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