Course Hero Logo

The Merchant of Venice | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Merchant of Venice Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 9 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, February 27). The Merchant of Venice Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The Merchant of Venice Study Guide." February 27, 2017. Accessed June 9, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Merchant of Venice Study Guide," February 27, 2017, accessed June 9, 2023,


Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University explains the main characters in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice.

The Merchant of Venice | Characters

Character Description
Shylock Shylock is a moneylender in Venice who seeks revenge for a lifetime of persecution and insults for being a Jew. Read More
Antonio Antonio is a merchant who confidently borrows money on his friend Bassanio's behalf only to find his life in danger when he is unable to repay the loan. Read More
Bassanio Bassanio is a Venetian gentleman who has racked up a lifetime of debt in his leisurely pursuits but hopes to marry the wealthy and beautiful Portia. Read More
Portia Portia is a gentlewoman who lives near Venice; her father has devised a complex riddle challenge for her suitors, which makes courtship difficult for her. Read More
Gratiano Gratiano is Bassanio's friend who supports him and accompanies him to Portia's estate, where he finds a wife of his own. Read More
Nerissa Nerissa is Portia's waiting woman, friend, and confidante. She encourages Portia as Portia copes with the woes of courtship and marriage. Read More
Jessica Jessica is Shylock's daughter, his only child, who breaks her father's heart by eloping with the Christian Lorenzo. Read More
Balthazar Balthazar is Portia's servant who helps her obtain the disguise she uses to pose as a man and defend Antonio in court. She uses his name while in disguise.
Doctor Bellario Doctor Bellario is Portia's cousin, a law scholar from Padua, who supplies Portia with letters of introduction and clothing to gain admission to court in Venice.
Duke of Venice When Antonio defaults on his loan, Shylock demands payment of a pound of flesh, and the Duke of Venice must preside over the trial that ensues.
Launcelot Gobbo Launcelot Gobbo is Shylock's jester; he tires of his employer's abuse and goes to work for Bassanio as a servant.
Old Gobbo Old Gobbo is Launcelot's elderly father, who convinces his son to leave Shylock's employ and work for Bassanio.
Leah Leah is the name of Shylock's deceased wife and Jessica's mother.
Leonardo Leonardo is one of Bassanio's servants.
Lorenzo Lorenzo is a friend of Bassanio and Gratiano; he falls in love with Jessica and elopes with her.
Prince of Arragon The Prince of Arragon is the second of Portia's suitors to accept her father's riddle challenge; he fails.
Prince of Morocco The Prince of Morocco is the first of Portia's suitors to accept her father's riddle challenge; he fails.
Salerio Salerio is a Venetian messenger who comes to Belmont to tell Bassanio Antonio has forfeited on the loan.
Salarino Salarino is one of Antonio's fellow merchants in Venice who offers less-than-encouraging comments on Antonio's life events.
Solanio Solanio is another of Antonio's fellow merchants in Venice who, like his counterpart Salarino, tends to offer unhelpful advice.
Stephano Stephano is one of Portia's servants; he's an adept musician.
Tubal Tubal is Shylock's fellow moneylender and friend.
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Merchant of Venice? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!