The merchant of venice - The Merchant of Venice Characters...

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The Merchant of Venice Characters: Shylock: a rich Jew Portia: rich heiress of Belmont Antonio: Venetian merchant Bassanio: Antonio’s friend, wants to marry Portia Graziano: Antonio and Bassanio’s friend Jessica: Shylock’s daughter Lorenzo: loves Jessica Nerissa: Portia’s woman in waiting Lancelot Gobbo: jester for Shylock Prince of Morocco: suitor to Portia Prince of Arragon: suitor to Portia Salero: Antonio’s friend Solanio: Antonio’s friend Duke of Venice: Balthasar: Portia’s servant Act I Summary: Act I, scene i Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains to his friends, Salerio and Solanio, that a sadness has overtaken him and dulled his faculties, although he is at a loss to explain why. Salerio and Solanio suggest that his sadness must be due to his commercial investments, for Antonio has dispatched several trade ships to various ports. Salerio says it is impossible for Antonio not to feel sad at the thought of the perilous ocean sinking his entire investment, but Antonio assures his friends that his business ventures do not depend on the safe passage of any one ship. Solanio then declares that Antonio must be in love, but Antonio dismisses the suggestion. The three men encounter Bassanio, Antonio’s kinsman, walking with two friends named Lorenzo and Graziano. Salerio and Solanio bid Antonio farewell and depart. When Graziano notices Antonio’s unhappiness and suggests that the merchant worries too much about business, Antonio responds that he is but a player on a stage, destined to play a sad part. Graziano warns Antonio against becoming the type of man who affects a solemn demeanor in order to gain a wise reputation, then he takes his leave with Lorenzo. Bassanio jokes that Graziano has terribly little to say, claiming that his friend’s wise remarks prove as elusive as “two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff” (I.i.115–116). Antonio asks Bassanio to tell him about the clandestine love that Bassanio is harboring. In reply, Bassanio admits that although he already owes Antonio a substantial sum of money from his earlier, more extravagant days, he has fallen in love with Portia, a rich heiress from Belmont, and hopes to win her heart by holding his own with her other wealthy and powerful suitors. In order to woo Portia, however, Bassanio says he needs to borrow more money from Antonio. Antonio replies that he cannot give Bassanio another loan, as all his money is tied up in his present business ventures, but offers to guarantee any loan Bassanio can round up.
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Summary: Act I, scene ii At Belmont, Portia complains to her lady-in-waiting, Nerissa, that she is weary of the world because, as her dead father’s will stipulates, she cannot decide for herself whether to take a husband. Instead, Portia’s various suitors must choose between three chests, one of gold, one of silver, and one of lead, in the hopes of selecting the one that contains her portrait. The man who guesses correctly will win Portia’s hand in marriage, but those who guess incorrectly must swear never to marry anyone. Nerissa lists the suitors who have come to guess—a Neapolitan prince, a
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