The Merchant of Venice Characters

Shylock A Jewish moneylender in Venice. He is angry about being mistreated by Venice’s Christians, particularly Antonio. Shylock schemes to get revenge by demanding “a pound of Antonio’s flesh” if he can’t repay his loan. He is also angry because his rebellious daughter, Jessica, has run away with a Christian man – Lorenzo.
Portia A wealthy heiress from Belmont. Her beauty is matched only by her intelligence, is bound by her father’s will to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly among the three caskets. Marries Bassanio.
Antonio The merchant whose love for his friend Bassanio prompts him to sign Shylock’s contract and almost lose his life.
Bassanio A gentleman of Venice, and a kinsman and dear friend to Antonio. Bassanio proves himself a worthy suitor for Portia, correctly identifying the casket that contains Portia’s portrait.
Gratiano A friend of Bassanio’s who accompanies him to Belmont. A coarse young man, and is Shylock’s most vocal and insulting critic during the trial. He falls in love with and eventually weds Portia’s lady-in-waiting, Nerissa.
Jessica Shylock’s daughter, hates life in her father’s house, and elopes with the young Christian gentleman, Lorenzo.
Lorenzo A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, is in love with Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. He schemes to help Jessica escape from her father’s house, and he eventually elopes with her to Belmont.
Nerissa Portia’s lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano.
Launcelot Gobbo Bassanio’s servant. A comical, clownish figure who makes puns, He leaves Shylock’s service in order to work for Bassanio.
The Prince of Morocco Known as the “moor”. A prince from Northern Africa who takes his chances with the caskets but loses by picking gold.
The Prince of Arragon An arrogant Spanish nobleman who also attempts to win Portia’s hand by picking a casket. He chooses unwisely and picks the silver casket, which gives him a message calling him an idiot instead of Portia’s hand.
Salarino A Venetian gentleman, and friend to Antonio, Bassanio, and Lorenzo. He is often almost indistinguishable from his companion Solanio.
Solanio A Venetian gentleman, and frequent counterpart to Salarino.
The Duke of Venice The ruler of Venice, who presides over Antonio’s trial. Although a powerful man, the duke’s state is built on respect for the law, and he is unable to help Antonio.
Old Gobbo Launcelot’s father, also a servant in Venice.
Tubal A Jew in Venice, and one of Shylock’s friends.
Doctor Bellario A wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portia’s cousin. Doctor Bellario never appears in the play, but he gives Portia’s servant the letters of introduction needed for her to make her appearance in court.
Balthasar Portia’s servant, whom she dispatches to get the appropriate materials from Doctor Bellario.
Nerissa in disguise as the lawyer’s clerk Escorts Portia on Portia’s trip to Venice by disguising herself as her law clerk.
Portia in disguise as Balthazar A young law clerk that saves Antonio from Shylock’s knife.
Salerio a well-connected merchant of Venice, and a friend of Antonio and Bassanio
jailer In charge of keeping an eye on Antonio to prevent him from running away before paying Shylock back.Shylock tells the jailer not to show Antonio mercy.The jailer let’s Antonio walk around freely, but always keeps him in his sight.
the Neapolitan Prince One of the suitors of Portia.Portia dislikes him because he only talks about his horses.
The Count Palatine One of the suitors of Portia.Portia dislikes him because he has a gloomy nature.
French Lord, Monsieur Le Bon One of the suitors of Portia.Portia dislikes him because she cannot identify any real personality in this man,”…he is every man in no man.”
Baron Falconbridge of England One of the suitors of Portia.Portia dislikes him because he speaks no languages that she knows, his clothing indicates nothing about him, and his behavior comes from everywhere.
The Scottish Lord One of the suitors of Portia.Portia dislikes him because he does not stand up to the English. The Englishman hit him, but instead of defending himself, he says he’ll get payback later with the help of the French.
The Duke of Saxony’s nephew One of the suitors of Portia. Portia dislikes him because he’s a drunk.
Stephano Stephano is a servant of Portia’s. He announces her return to Belmont, supposedly from her religious retreat.

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