Study Guide

The Merchant of Venice Characters

By William Shakespeare

Shylock

It's a twist on "don't hate the player; hate the game." Don't hate the actor that plays Shylock,...

Antonio

Antonio is a rich Venetian merchant, Bassanio's BFF, Shylock's archenemy, and the guy who puts up...

Portia

Before we even meet Portia, we hear about how desirable she is: "In Belmont is a lady richly...

Bassanio

Bassanio is Antonio's best pal and the lucky guy who lands Portia, the richest and cutest girl in...

Jessica

Jessica is Shylock's only daughter. She breaks her dad's heart by running off to marry a...

Lorenzo

Lorenzo is pals with Antonio and Bassanio. More important, however, he's the guy who hits the...

Graziano (a.k.a. Gratiano)

Graziano is a friend of Antonio and Bassanio. He's also quite the party animal. When Bassanio...

Nerissa

Nerissa is Portia's woman-in-waiting (read: her sidekick). At the beginning of the play, she...

The Duke of Venice

The Duke of Venice is, well, the Duke of Venice. His role in the play is to uphold the law,...

Lancelot

Lancelot is a clown and a servant—first Shylock's and then Bassanio's. Like all...