Act 1, Scene 1
* The play begins with Antonio speaking to Solanio and Solarino about his mysterious sadness. They cannot find the cause of this melancholy.
* Gratiano and Bassanio come on scene with Lorenzo. The men embrace, happy to see one another. Gratiano tells Antonio to be happy.
* Bassanio asks Antonio to lend him some money so that he can woo Portia, a rich heiress who he is in love with.
* Antonio cannot lend Bassanio the full amount because his money is tied up in investments, but he promises to guarantee any loan he can find.
Act 1, Scene 2
* Portia complains to Nerissa, her lady in waiting, about the fact that she is not free to make her own decisions in life or even choose her own husband.
* When Portia's father died, he left in his will the instructions about how her suitor would have to win her hand. They must...
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