The Merchant of Venice is the story of the young Venetian nobleman Bassiano and his quest to woo the beautiful Portia. Strapped for cash and in need of money to court Portia, Bassiano takes a loan from the generous but anti-Semitic Antonio, the titular merchant, who in turn must borrow from the Jewish moneylender Shylock. Shylock hopes to exact vengeance upon Antonio for his prejudice, but in the end Bassiano marries Portia and Antonio is able to repay his loan.

Summary of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Below is a list of The Merchant of Venice Cliff Notes and The Merchant of Venice SparkNotes. Not looking for a The Merchant of Venice summary? Search above for 5000 other chapter summaries, curated from popular sites like SparkNotes and Cliff Notes.

The Merchant of Venice Chapter Summaries (Free)


Review: The most popular website for book notes. SparkNotes was created by students for students, and their summaries are accessible and extremely well-written. Besides the usual plot overview, chapter summaries, and character analysis, SparkNotes differentiates itself with a section discussing themes, motifs, and symbols.

2Cliffs Notes

Review: The original provider of professionally-written study guides, Cliffs Notes were available in print form before the Internet even existed. Their content is very comprehensive and includes an analysis of characters, detailed chapter by chapter summaries, critical essays, essay topics, and many other sections.


Review: This is a good choice if you're looking for a quick read or refresher rather than an in-depth analysis. You'll get a short book summary and chapter breakdown, and while the colors are strange, at least the website loads quickly.