Characters in Merchant of venice

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Characters in Merchant of Venice

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Created by inds12 over 3 years ago
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'The Merchant of Venice' - William Shakespeare
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Characters in Merchant of venice
1 Shylock
1.1 Jewish money lender in Venice
1.2 Intelligent businessman
1.2.1 Shylock cares for money more than anything else. Yet in an often forgotten moment when Shylock finds out his daughter traded his wife's ring for a monkey he cares only for its sentimental value. "Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my turquoise; / I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: / I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys".
1.2.2 The main reason he hates Antonio is financial: "I hate him for he is a Christian; / But more, for that in low simplicity / He lends out money gratis".
1.2.3 • Regarded as an inhuman monster by the Christians, who mock him for being obsessed with money
1.3 Mistreated
1.3.1 • Angered by his mis-treatment by the Christians in Venice, particularly Antonio, he aims to get revenge by demanding a pound of Antonio’s flesh as a penalty is he doesn’t return a loan
1.3.2 Bent on revenge
1.3.2.1 He cleverly argues in Act III, scene 1 that he is as much a man as a Christian is and so will follow the example the Christians set by seeking revenge. "The villainy you teach me I will execute".
1.3.2.2 Is very confident that he will win, telling Antonio while he is in prison, "Thou call'dst me dog ... But since I am a dog, beware my fangs". He knows that the Venetian justice system will have to support him and so relishes beating Antonio at his own game.
1.3.2.3 He resolutely refuses to listen to all the pleas for mercy during the trial scene (from the Duke, Bassanio and Balthazar), insisting all the time on justice and his pound of flesh. Do you think this is this a sign of strength or foolishness? He could have pardoned Antonio and shown himself to be morally superior - but would this have done him any good in the long run?
1.4 VICTIM OR VILLAN?
1.5 Jessica's father
1.5.1 His daughter hates him and calls him a "devil". We see him being impatient with her and ordering her around. When she runs away, he seems as upset about the loss of his money as her: "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! ... My ducats and my daughter!"
1.5.2 • He also comes across as an entirely human character who is angry at his daughter’s betrayal and the way he is treated
2 Portia
2.1 Described by Bassanio as rich, beautiful and full of wondrous virtues. The Prince of Morocco calls her "the fairest creature northward born".
2.1.1 Beauty matched by intelligence
2.2 Wealthy heiress
2.2.1 Is bound by her dead fathers will that forces her to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly out of three caskets, though she still wants to marry her true love, Bassanio
2.2.2 Loves Bassanio and when he chooses the right casket and appears worried that she will not come up to Bassanio's expectations: "I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, / Exceed account". She literally gives herself to him: "Myself and what is mine, to you and yours / Is now converted". Why does she now not seem as independent as she was before?
2.3 Disguises as a man
2.3.1 Becomes Balthazar- a very well educated and important lawyer to impress Bassanio
2.3.1.1 Show no mercy to Shylock when she tells him that he must not draw blood. She is ruthless: she first forbids Shylock to retract the bond and then goes on to enact an ancient Venetian law against him for having threatened Antonio's life, that could result in Shylock's death
2.3.2 In control- tricks Bassanio to give her the ring to mock him
2.4 She causes everyone to be happy at the end: herself and Bassanio, Nerissa and Gratiano, Jessica and Lorenzo (by telling them that they will inherit Shylock's fortune) and Antonio - she tells him that three of his ships are safe. There is mystery surrounding this news: she tells him, "You shall not know by what strange accident / I chanced upon this letter".
3 Antonia
3.1 Play is named after him
3.2 At the start of the play he is depressed. The reason for this is never made clear. He says the world is "A stage where every man must play a part, / And mine a sad one"
3.3 Friend to Bassanio
3.3.1 Signs Shylock’s contract and almost dies
3.3.2 When news comes of his lost ships, Antonio asks Bassanio to come home, but does not force him. He writes, "use your pleasure".
3.3.3 When he believes he is going to die, he tells Bassanio, "Say how I loved you," and seems glad to be paying Bassanio's debt with his life.
3.4 Very anti-semitic
3.4.1 Whilst in prison, he recognises that Shylock hates him because he lent money to people to help them pay their debts to Shylock - yet makes no mention of other reasons why Shylock would hate him, such as all the verbal abuse he has given him!
3.4.2 Shylock describes how "many a time and oft / In the Rialto have you rated me / About my money and my usances".
3.5 Just and loyal- law has to be upheld even if he may die
4 Bassanio
4.1 Gentleman of Venice, kinsman and dear friend of Antonio
4.2 Ineffectual business man
4.2.1 His love for Portia leads him to borrow money from Shylock with Antonio as his guarantor
4.2.2 In debt 'in money and love' to Antonio
4.2.3 Lost all of his own money and previous loans from Antonio
4.3 Madly in love with Portia
4.3.1 His motives - he seems more interested in her money than anything else when he describes her to Antonio: "In Belmont is a lady richly left, / And she is fair".
4.3.2 When he sees her portrait inside the lead casket, he praises her highly and calls her a "demi-god
4.3.3 He is very reluctant to give 'Balthazar' the ring that Portia gave him, yet does so when Antonio asks him to. He gives an honest account of why he gave the ring away and swears heartfelt and lifelong devotion to Portia - "by my soul" - at the end of the play.
4.4 Prejeduced to Jews and Shylock
5 Nerissa
5.1 Portia's maid and confidante
5.2 Escorts Portia on her trip to Venice by disguising herself as Portia’s law clerk
5.3 Marries Gratiano
6 Gratanio
6.1 Bassanio's companion
6.2 Joker- 'let me play the fool'
6.3 Anti-semetic- Shylock’s most vocal and insulting critic during the trial
6.3.1 When Shylock is humiliated and delights in throwing Shylock's words back at him: "O upright judge! / Mark, Jew - O learned judge!"
6.4 He marries Nerissa very quickly, when Portia marries Bassanio
7 Jessica
7.1 Jew and Shylocks Daughter
7.2 Hates life with her father in his house therefore elopes with the Christian Lorenzo and becomes a Christian herself
7.3 Portia leaves Jessica and Lorenzo to look after Belmont while she is away in Venice. She seems to admire Portia a great deal, saying she likes her "Past all expressing".
8 Lorenzo
8.1 He is a Christian who falls in love with Shylock's daughter Jessica and elopes with her. We hear of them travelling through Italy, rashly spending huge amounts of money
8.2 He talks passionately to Jessica about "the sweet power of music" - but does not seem to do much that is practical to help her.
8.3 Friend of Bassanio and Antonio
9 Lancelot Gobbo
9.1 Shylocks servant then leaves his service to work for Shylock
9.1.1 Friend of Jessica and helps her to escape and elope with Lorenzo
9.2 Comical, clownish figure who is especially adept as making puns
10 Suitors
10.1 Prince of Arragon
10.1.1 Chooses wrong by picking the silver casket, which calls him an idiot rather than offering him Portia’s hand in marriage
10.1.2 Arrogant Spanish nobleman
10.2 Prince of Morocco
10.2.1 Picks gold casket- to mirror her beauty and stature
10.2.2 Black- begs Portia not to judge him by his complexion
11 Side characters
11.1 Tubal
11.1.1 Wealthy Jew and Shylocks friend
11.2 Doctor Bellario
11.2.1 Wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portia's cousin, never appears in play but gives Portia's servant the letter of introduction needed for Portia to make her appearance in court
11.3 Duke
11.3.1 He does not want to see Antonio killed, yet he will not bend the laws to save him, as that would undermine the rule of law. He is happy for Balthazar to deal with the case.
11.3.2 Most important man in Venice

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