What were the details of the bond that was signed between Antonio and Shylock? What was the reason for signing such a bond in The Merchant of Venice?

The details of the bond between Antonio and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice state that Antonio must forfeit one pound of flesh to be cut off of any part of his body if he does not repay the full amount of the loan by a specific date, which is precisely three months from the time he signs the bond. Antonio agrees to sign the bond, because he is confident that he can repay it in time.

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The details of the bond signed between Antonio and Shylock are that Shylock will lend Antonio three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio is bound to repay the loan. If Antonio fails to repay the three thousand ducats after three months, he will give Shylock a pound of his flesh from whatever part of his body that Shylock chooses.

The reason that Antonio signs the bond is that he needs the money for his friend Bassanio so that Bassanio can improve his financial position in order to impress Portia and win her hand. Antonio is so convinced that the investment will be successful that he willingly agrees to Shylock's terms. Shylock imposes these terms because of his hatred of Antonio, who generally treats him like a dog but now comes to him for a loan. Shylock says to himself,

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails...

Shylock voices his feelings directly to Antonio as well, telling Antonio that he is acting hypocritically by treating Shylock poorly most of the time, but then approaching him for a loan:

Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys?

Shylock also ponders the large sum of the loan in tandem with the many financial liabilities that Antonio already. Antonio has his money invested in several ships that are in remote parts of the world and are vulnerable to attack or might not return to Venice in time for Antonio to repay the loan. However, Shylock agrees to the loan finally after Antonio agrees to the pound of flesh clause.

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In act 3, Bassanio negotiates with Shylock to borrow three thousand ducats for three months using Antonio's credit. Shylock is aware that Antonio's wealth is rather uncertain, because his ships are out at sea, but recognizes that Antonio is a sufficient man who will more than likely repay him. Shylock then requests to speak with Antonio, who enters the scene.

Once Antonio enters the scene, Shylock expresses his hatred and contempt for Antonio in an aside, and the audience discovers that Shylock and Antonio are bitter enemies. Before Shylock discusses the terms of the loan with Antonio, he reminds Antonio of the many instances he offended, embarrassed, and assaulted him in public and finds it rather ironic that Antonio would ask him for such a favor. Antonio responds to Shylock's hostile remarks by saying,

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemy,
Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face
Exact the penalty. (1.3.138–144)

Shylock replies by granting Antonio a "kind" offer and proceeds to outline the terms of the loan. The terms of the loan state that Antonio must forfeit one pound of flesh, to be cut off of any part of his body, if he does not repay the full amount of the bond by the specific date. Antonio boldly agrees to the conditions of the loan, because he is confident that he will make nine times the amount of the contract before the three months is up. Antonio's hatred towards Shylock and confidence in his business ventures motivates him to sign the risky bond. Antonio views the contract as a direct challenge from his enemy and is determined to humiliate Shylock by repaying the full amount.

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The rather notorious terms of the bond agreed upon by Shylock, a money lender, and Antonio, a wealthy merchant, in act 1, scene 3, of The Merchant of Venice are preceded by a testy verbal exchange which explains much. Antonio has come to request a loan on behalf of his friend Bassanio, which will allow him to finance his courtship of the lovely Portia, whose wisdom is yet unknown to him.

Shylock, reminding his potential client of instances in which the merchant spat upon him while cursing him as a Jew and a usurer, asks him why he should now come to his aid. No hypocrite, Antonio tells him that he is likely to repeat this behavior. He tells Shylock that, if he will make this loan, he should "lend it rather to thine enemy, who, if he break, thou mayst with better face exact the penalty." This statement prompts the unusual terms of the bond:

If your repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Express'd in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.

Despite Bassanio's unwillingness to accept such terms, Antonio assures his friend (wrongly, it turns out) that there is no possible danger that he will forfeit the bond.

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The bond between Antonio and Shylock is signed in act 1, scene 3 of The Merchant of Venice. Antonio is requesting a loan of three thousand ducats from Shylock, a well-known moneylender in Venice. Shylock agrees to grant the loan to Antonio, but he places special provisions upon it. He states that if Antonio does not repay to him the exact amount required, upon the exact date and time of Shylock's stipulating, the penalty will be

an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.

It is not in fact Antonio who is in need of money, but Bassanio, who would like to court Portia and needs three thousand ducats in order to do so. He has asked Antonio, who is rich, to take out the loan for him. However, upon hearing the terms, Bassanio shrinks from the idea of Antonio promising such a thing for him, but Antonio assures him that it will all be well, and that he will not "forfeit" the bond—that is, he is sure that he will be able to pay on time. Shylock imposes such cruel terms upon Antonio because he has felt "enmity" towards him for a long time, partly because Antonio is a Christian, but also because Antonio is known to lend money for nothing, which reduces Shylock's business and drives up the rates of usuary in Venice, according to Shylock.

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