Merchant of Venice


Role: Bassanio (バサーニオ) 

Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare 

Performance Details

17 August - 07 October 2007The Galaxy Theatre, Japan


Bassanio, a young Venetian, would like to travel to Belmont to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant, for three thousand ducats needed to subsidize his traveling expenditures as a suitor for three months. As all of Antonio's ships and merchandise are busy at sea, Antonio approaches the Jewish moneylender/usurer Shylock for a loan.

Shylock, who hates Antonio because he had insulted and spat on him for being a Jew a week previously, proposes a condition. If Antonio is unable to repay the loan at the specified date, Shylock will be free to take a pound of Antonio's flesh from whatever part of Antonio's body he pleases. Although Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition, Antonio, surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity (no "usance" -interest -is asked for), accedes and signs the contract. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with another friend Gratiano.

At Belmont, Portia has no lack of suitors. Portia's father, however, has left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets -one each of gold, silver, and lead -before he could win Portia's hand. In order to be granted an opportunity to marry Portia, each suitor must agree in advance to live out his life as a bachelor were he to select wrongly. The suitor who correctly looks past the outward appearance of the caskets will find Portia's portrait inside and win her hand.

After two suitors, the Princes of Morocco and Aragon, choose incorrectly, Bassanio makes the correct choice, that of the leaden casket. The other two contain mocking verses, including the famous phrase all that glisters [glistens] is not gold...