The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice Marriage Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton Shakespeare edition.
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be ashamed to be my father's child!
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,
Become a Christian and thy loving wife. (2.3.1)
Jessica can't wait to elope with Lorenzo, but why? As literary critic Janet Adelman points out in Blood Relations, "marriage appears to occur to her largely as a way to escape" from being her father's daughter (71). Later, when Jessica declares "I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a Christian" (3.5.3), we can see that Jessica really is ashamed of being the Jewish daughter of Shylock. Check out "Quotes: Race" for more on this.
Beshrew me but I love her heartily;
For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul. (2.6.6)
From the looks of this passage, Lorenzo seems to genuinely love Jessica, who is in the process of running off to marry him. Still, we can't help but notice that the marriage is a lucrative hookup for Lorenzo. When Jessica sneaks out of her dad's house, she steals a bunch of gold and says, "I will make fast the doors and gild myself / With some more ducats" (2.6.5). So even if Lorenzo doesn't just marry Jessica for her money, the play certainly makes her out to be, like Portia, a meal ticket.
The ancient saying is no heresy:
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny. (2.9.2)
Here Nerissa is commenting on the precariousness of the marriage lottery that Portia's father has arranged. But still – we don't know about you, but when we hear anyone compare "wiving" (courtship) to "hanging," we get a little nervous.