In Venice, the epicentre of consumption, speculation and debt, Bassanio borrows money from his friend Antonio to finance his attempt to win the hand of Portia, a wealthy heiress. Antonio, in turn, takes out a loan from the moneylender Shylock. The loan will be repaid when Antonio’s ships return to the city. But if they should fail, and the money cannot be repaid, Antonio shall give to Shylock a pound of his own flesh. And they do fail. And Shylock will have his ‘bond’.
In some of his most highly-charged scenes, Shakespeare dramatizes the competing claims of tolerance and intolerance, justice and mercy, while in the character of Shylock he created one of the most memorable outsiders in all theatre. A revival of the thrilling 2015 Globe production with Jonathan Pryce as Shylock.