Character Analysis of the Merchant of Venice Flashcards

How is Shylock portrayed as both a villain and a victim?

Shylock endures anti-Semitic abuse and mistreatment, making him a victim. However, his demand for a pound of Antonio’s flesh and refusal to show mercy make him a ruthless and vengeful villain.

What actions demonstrate Portia’s intelligence and resourcefulness?

Portia disguises herself as the lawyer Balthazar to defend Antonio in court, skillfully manipulating Venetian law to outsmart Shylock and save Antonio from the bond.

How does Antonio’s character reveal both loyalty and prejudice?

Antonio shows deep affection and loyalty to Bassanio, risking his life for him. However, he also subjects Shylock to physical and verbal abuse, revealing his prejudiced and cruel side.

What motivates Jessica to leave her father, Shylock?

Jessica is motivated by her desire to escape her restrictive home life, convert to Christianity, and marry Lorenzo. She expresses her disdain for her father’s household and her wish for independence.

How does Bassanio demonstrate both recklessness and genuine love?

Bassanio is financially irresponsible, relying on Antonio to fund his lifestyle. Despite this, he shows genuine concern for Antonio and true love for Portia, proving his devotion by choosing the correct casket.

What role does Gratiano play in ‘The Merchant of Venice’?

Gratiano is a close friend of Antonio and Bassanio, known for his talkative and cheerful nature. He provides comic relief but also reveals anti-Semitic sentiments, insulting Shylock during the trial.

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