Character Relationships in The Merchant of Venice Flashcards

How is the relationship between Portia and Nerissa characterised?

Portia and Nerissa share a close friendship and confidante relationship. Portia values Nerissa’s advice, and they support each other, disguising themselves to help Antonio. However, Nerissa’s role as a servant affects their dynamics.

What does Bassanio’s choice of the lead casket signify in his relationship with Portia?

Bassanio’s choice of the lead casket, which emphasises sacrifice and giving, reflects his genuine love for Portia, prioritising her happiness over her wealth.

Describe the relationship between Shylock and Antonio.

Shylock and Antonio are bitter enemies, fueled by religious differences and mutual hatred. Shylock resents Antonio’s anti-Semitic insults and lending practices, while Antonio despises Shylock’s usury. Their hostility nearly leads to Antonio’s death and Shylock’s downfall.

Why does Jessica feel alienated from her father, Shylock?

Jessica feels ashamed to be Shylock’s daughter, expressing a deep-seated disconnect and societal disapproval of Jews. She plans to escape with Lorenzo, taking Shylock’s money and jewels, further alienating herself from him.

What impact does Jessica’s betrayal have on Shylock?

Jessica’s betrayal deeply wounds Shylock. She escapes with his money and jewels, converts to Christianity, and secures greater legal standing in Venetian society, further punishing Shylock emotionally and financially.

How do Portia and Bassanio’s feelings develop throughout the play?

Bassanio’s initial attraction to Portia’s wealth evolves into genuine love and admiration. Portia fondly recalls their past encounter and hopes for his success in the casket challenge. Their relationship is solidified when Bassanio chooses the lead casket, demonstrating his true devotion.

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