The Merchant of Venice is a clever and controversial comedy. Bassanio, a poor nobleman in Venice, needs money to woo the beautiful heiress Portia. He asks his friend Antonio for a loan, but Antonio has invested his funds in ships overseas. The moneylender, Shylock, offers the cash on the condition that he will take a pound of Antonio’s flesh if the loan is not repaid within three months. Antonio goes bankrupt and Portia steps in, disguised as a young male lawyer, to save the day.