Merchant of Venice Review

Jessica Steals her father’s ducats and jewels and elopes with Lorenzo. A “foil” character to Portia, as this character is disloyal to her father. She sells his ring for a monkey.
Portia Cross-dresses and pretends to be “Balthazar” in court to defend Antonio. She is beautiful, intelligent and rich.
Bassanio Chooses the leadeth casket and wins Portia’s hand in marriage and all of her riches too.
Arragon Chooses the silver casket and finds a “picture of a blinking idiot”.
Prince of Morocco Known as the “moor”. A prince from Northern Africa who takes his chances with the caskets but loses by picking gold.
Antonio Known to be a kind man (although he admits to treating the Jewish people in Venice badly and says that he would do it again). He signs a bond that puts his life on the line for Bassanio to be able to court Portia.
Shylock Known as “The Jew”. A usurer in Venice who is mistreated by the Christians. He wants revenge so he demands “a pound of flesh” from Antonio for forefitting his bond.
Gratiano Bassanio’s friend who’s engaged to Nerissa.
Nerissa Disgues herself as a court clerk; Portia’s best friend.
Venice Where Antonio, Shylock, Bassanio, Gratanio and Jessica live. One of the settings of the play.
Belmont Where Portia resides. This setting is a foil to Venice.
Launcelot Leaves Shylock to work for Bassanio. Known to be the clown of the play.
Lorenzo In love with Jessica. Takes her away from Shylock and converts her to a Christian.
Duke The judge in Antonio’s trial. He begins by having bias for Antonio and calls Shylock “Jew” instead of by his name.
silver casket Inside there is a picture of a “blinking idiot”. On the outside their is an inscription that reads “who chooseth me shall gain as much as he deserves”.
gold casket Inside there is a skull and a scroll “All that glistens is not gold…”. On the ouside the inscription reads “who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire”.
leadeth casket The winning casket. On the ouside it reads “who chooseth me shall give and hazard all he hath”. Although its appearance is dull, Portia’s dad chose it so that only a man who is not fooled by appearances and who is willing to risk all would choose his daughter.
3000 ducats The amount of money that Antonio must pay back to Shylock within three months.
A pound of flesh Antonio’s interest if he forefits his bond with Shylock.
turquoise The stone in the ring that Jessica sells for a monkey. Shylock would not sell this ring “for a wilderness of monkeys” because his wife gave it to him and it has meaning to him.
Shylock says: “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?…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?”…he addresses the anti-semitism in Venice at the time, explaining his motivations for wanting the life of Antonio.
ring Portia gives this to Bassanio and tells him that if he takes it off or loses it then she has the right to denounce their relationship.
Gobbo Is sand-blind and is the brunt of his son’s jokes.
monestary Portia tells Lorenzo that she and Nerissa are going here to pray while Antonio’s trial takes place.
xenophobia an irrational fear of foreigners or strangers
anti-semitism policies, views, or actions that harm or discriminate against Jews
Shakespeare English poet and dramatist considered one of the greatest English writers (1564-1616)
Act 1 The introduction in Shakespearian plays. It includes the setting (time, place, mood), the main characters (protagonist and primary characters), and the inciting incident.
Act 2 The rising action in Shakespearian plays.
Act 3 The climax (or turning point) in a Shakespearian play.
Act 4 The falling action in a Shakespearian play.
Act 5 The conclusion in a Shakespearian play.