Character Analysis in The Merchant of Venice
Shylock: Shylock is a Jewish moneylender of notable prominence in Venice. He is horribly mistreated by the Christian characters, especially Antonio, and seeks to enact his revenge by forcing Antonio to stick to the bond that he signs: money in exchange for a pound of his flesh. While he does demonstrate many of the stereotypes wrongfully attributed to Jewish people, Shylock reveals his very human motivations in eloquent speeches and dialogue. He remains the only truly faithful person in the play and the only character who is not deceitful.
Antonio: Antonio is a merchant who has formidable love for Bassanio, another merchant. Antonio’s love has often been interpreted as unrequited love that drives him to sign a bond with Shylock that puts his own life in danger. Antonio is marked by his melancholy, loyalty, and extreme hatred for Jews.
Bassanio: Bassanio is an irresponsible merchant who loses all of his money when his ships do not come back from sea. Throughout the play, Bassanio behaves selfishly and seems oblivious to Antonio’s feelings.
Portia: Portia is a rich heiress who is both intelligent and beautiful. Her father devises a riddle for suitors to solve in order to win her hand in marriage, at which Bassanio succeeds. Portia’s ability to manipulate situations allows her to control not only her own happy ending but also the outcome of the play.
Character Analysis Examples in The Merchant of Venice:
Act I - Scene I🔒
"I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;(80) A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one...." See in text (Act I - Scene I)
Act I - Scene II🔒
Act I - Scene III🔒
"Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key, With 'bated breath, and whispering humbleness,..." See in text (Act I - Scene III)
"I will buy(30) with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you..." See in text (Act I - Scene III)
Act II - Scene II🔒
Act II - Scene V🔒
Act II - Scene IX🔒
Act III - Scene I🔒
Act III - Scene II🔒
Act III - Scene III🔒
Act IV - Scene I🔒
"Commend me to your honourable wife:(280) Tell her the process of Antonio's end, Say, how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death;..." See in text (Act IV - Scene I)
"and my love withal, Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment...." See in text (Act IV - Scene I)
"The throned monarch better than his crown; ..." See in text (Act IV - Scene I)