Merchant of Venice summary
Merchant of Venice Summary Act IV.
In the Duke’s court, the Duke pleads with Shylock to allow the debt to be repaid but is met with refusal. In fact Shylock goes a step further to threaten the Duke for not abiding by the laws of the land. Should the Duke decide to favor Antonio, he would bring shame on Venice losing its credibility as location of commerce amount merchants.
Portia then posing as a lawyer for Antonio argues his case and in what can be termed as a Dues Ex Machina of a speech turns the case around by saving his life on technical grounds. She orders Shylock to take his pound of flesh without spilling a drop of blood as blood wasn’t mentioned in the agreement.
Shylock relents but is then accused with attempt to murder, a crime punishable by death. The court grants Shylock leniency on condition he converts to Christianity and leaves half his property and wealth to his daughter Jessica in his will. In jest Portia and Nerissa take the wedding rings of Bassanio and Gratiano as payment only to chide them later for giving up such a valued possession.