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The Merchant of Venice Character Web

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Chelsea O'Day

on 6 August 2013

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Transcript of The Merchant of Venice Character Web

The Merchant of Venice
Character Web

Main Characters
Antonio
Rich Venetian merchant
Portia
Play's heroine
Shylock
Jewish Moneylender
Father to Jessica
(whom he is betrayed by)
Enemy to Antonio
Play's antagonist
Viewed as materialistic
Despised for his religion, culture and occupation
(and for the practice of charging interest)
Angered by his mistreatment by the Christians
Desire for vengence against Christians, especially Antonio
Seeks revenge by demanding a pound of Antonio’s flesh as payment
Other characters view him as inhuman, bestial or demonic
Been trash-talked,
spit upon,
called a dog,
and worse
Alienated from almost everyone
Painted as a ‘miserly, cruel, and prosaic’ figure
"If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" (Act III, Scene I, Lines 63-72)
Shylock’s archenemy
Bassanio’s best friend
Liked and admired by his friends
Hopeless depressive
Devolves into a ‘self-pitying lump’
Does not name the source of his melancholy (but it seems he is depressed because he is in love, the object of his affection being his close friend Bassanio)
Unrequited love for Bassanio
Lovesick•
Generous
Self-sacrificing martyr’ for Bassanio
Blatant anti-Semite
Cruel towards Jews, particularly Shylock
Unapologetic for his aggressive behaviour towards Shylock
Desirable
Wealthy noblewoman
Heiress to her dead father’s fortune
Lives in Belmont
Beautiful
Quick-witted
Eligible bachelorette
Bassanio sees her as the answer to his financial woes
Bound by a clause in her father’s will that forces her to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly among three caskets
She is ‘a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father’
Smart
Cunning
Cross-dresses as a lawyer and saves Antonio’s life
Knows that Bassanio’s loyalties lie with Antonio
Displays a vicious prejudice towards non-Christians and foreigners
antidote to shylock’s malice’
Gratiano
Nerissa
Portia's lady-in-witing and confidante
Jessica
Shylock's daughter
A gentlemen of Venice
A kinsman
Best friend and long-time debtor of Antonio
Ineffectual businessman
Bassanio
Romantic lead of the play
Gold digger
Courts Portia in an attempt to pay off his debts, as well as for love
Borrows 3000 ducats from Shylock, with Antonio as his guarantor
Worthy suitor, correctly choosing the casket that contains Portia’s portrait
Avoids earning his own way
At best clueless, at worst consciously manipulative and selfish
Exploits Antonio’s generosity
Unloyal to Portia, passing on money and gifts that she gives him
Friend of Bassanio, who accompanies him to Belmont
Coarse
Garrulous
Notoriously vulgar
Wild
Rude
Bold
Shylock’s most vocal and insulting critic at his trial
Falls in love with, and eventually weds, Nerissa, Portia’s lady-in-waiting (parallels Bassanio’s marriage to Portia)
Marries Gratiano (but only agreed to marry him if Bassanio won Portia)
Disguises herself as a law clerk
Practical; tells Portia to ‘suck it up’ when she complains of the unfairness of her life and the casket riddle, and that she should be glad that her father was wise enough to plan for his daughter’s future
Hates life in her father’s house, longs for escape
Elopes with Lorenzo
Steals her father’s property
Abandons her father and her faith
Converts to Christianity
Thoughtlessly trades her dead mother’s turquoise ring for a monkey
Smart, beautiful and loyal according to Lorenzo
Salarino
Venetian gentleman
Friend to Antonio, Bassanio and Lorenzo
Escorts the newlyweds Lorenzo and Jessica to Belmont
Returns with Bassanio and Gratiano for Antonio’s trial
Usually almost indistinguishable from his companion Solanio
Solanio
Venetian gentleman
Frequent counterpart to Salarino
Lorenzo
Friend of Antonio and Bassanio
In love with Jessica
Helps Jessica escape from her father's house
Launcelot Gobbo
Bassanio's servant
Comical, ‘clownish’ figure
Skilled at making puns
Fools around
Makes smart-aleck comments
Bags on all the other characters in the play
Leaves Shylock’s service in order to work for Bassanio
Aids Jessica’s escape from Shylock
Old Gobbo
Lancelot’s father
Servant in Venice
Blind
Tubal
Jew in Venice
Friend of Shylock
Doctor Bellario
A wealthy Paduan lawyer
Portia’s cousin
Never appears in the play, but supplies Portia's servant with the letters of introduction needed for her to make her court appearance
Balthasar
Portia's servant, whom she dispatches to get the appropriate materials for Doctor Bellario
(Balthazar is also the name Portia takes when she impersonates a lawyer in court)
Presides over Antonio's trial
Powerful man
The Duke of Venice
Ruler of Venice
Upholds the law
Lectures Shylock on the value of mercy
Shylock goes to him after Jessica robs him blind and when he seeks to collect his pound of flesh from Antonio
Prince of Morocco
Moorish prince
Seeks Portia's hand in marriage
Dark complexion
Chooses the gold casket
Prince of Arragon
Spanish nobleman
Arrogant
Chooses the
silver casket
Full transcript