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Merchant: Main Characters

Antonio, a merchant of Venice was a well-respected businessman. He was a wealthy man and offered his friends the loan of money, without interest. The play is based on a particular moment when Antonio was unable to lend his most trusted friend Bassanio, 3000 Ducats. His whole fortune was tied up on ships that were yet to arrive. Antonio, being a loyal friend offered to be Bassanio's Guarantor. Antonio attempted to borrowed money from a Jew, Shylock, as he was the only person who was able to lend the money. He told Shylock that the money would be paid back within three months. The Jew accepted his proposal, but on a condition, if the money were not paid back within the three months, then Antonio would have to repay him back with a pound of his flesh. Antonio accepted the bond, as he was desperate to help out his friend.

Shylock, a Jew is living in a world were the Jewish religion is regarded as evil. The people of Venice including Antonio, have ridiculed him, called him dog, and spat out his name in vain. All because he is a Jew. He was considered an alien and yet was constitute to the Venetian Law. When Antonio asked to borrow money from him, he thought it was the perfect opportunity to fulfill his revenge. Asking for a pound of flesh was the only way he could take his vengeance without being prosecuted, it was a bond, and Antonio could not brake it. Shylock was offered three times the amount owed, but he still did not forfeit the bond.

Bassanio, good friend of Antonio, wanted to travel to Belmont to try to win the hand of Marriage from Portia, a wealthy heiress. In doing this, Bassanio required 3000 Ducats, in order to pay for his travel expenses and to make him appear a noble man. Since Antonio did not have his money, they had to borrow from Shylock. Basanio, refused to agree with the bond between Shylock and Antonio, this showed how close there friendship was, In the court case Bassanio offered his life in return for Antonio's, he even offered Shylock ten times the amount of money. The unselfish character of Bassanio is displayed in the play, were he chooses the lead casket amongst the gold and the silver, to win the heart of Portia.

Portia is an extremely wealthy heiress from Belmont; Suitors around the world have come to her in hope that they may marry. In doing so (from her fathers wishes), the suitors were required to choose between a lead, silver and gold casket. Whichever casket contained her portrait would be the one she would marry. To Portia's luck, Bassanio the men she loves, chooses the correct casket. When Potia discovers that her husband's good friend has been threatened, she conducts a plan to save him. Portia and her maid Nerrisa dress up as Doctor's of Law, to establish freedom for Antonio and Justice for the Jew.