The Merchant of Venice is a comedy. In this play, Antonio, a merchant, agrees to a bond with Shylock, a Jewish Money Lender. This bond states that Antonio will let Shylock cut a pound of his flesh if he fails to pay 3000 ducats in 3 months.
Portia is a rich maiden. Before her father died, he had created the Casket plot. Suitors who wish to marry Portia would choose between three caskets: a gold, silver and leaden. If the Suitor failed to pick the one with Portia's picture in it, they would never be allowed to marry any woman every.
Jessica is the daughter of Shylock. She is ashamed to be related to him and wants to marry the Christian, Lorenzo.
Nerissa and Portia wanted to see if Bassanio and Antonio were loyal spouses so they asked for their promise rings.