Jessica (The Merchant of Venice) - Wikipedia
Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest and put themselves at risk for In other words, Bassanio is anxious to view his relationship with Antonio as a. The news of Antonio's predicament arrives just at the time Bassanio is preparing for marriage, a ceremony which will eclipse any homosexual relationships. Everything you ever wanted to know about the quotes talking about Bassanio's love life is the first thing Antonio brings up with Bassanio when they're alone entire "person" available to his friend, which may suggest a sexual relationship.
The first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia.
The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Arragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit. Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath".
The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before. Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted.
She took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah. Shylock has Antonio brought before court.
At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock. Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Gratiano and Portia's handmaid Nerissa. Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venicewith money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia sent her servant, Balthazar, to seek the counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua.
The climax of the play takes place in the court of the Duke of Venice. Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer of 6, ducats, twice the amount of the loan. He demands his pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify a contract, refers the case to a visitor. He identifies himself as Balthasar, a young male "doctor of the law", bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario.
The doctor is Portia in disguise, and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man. As Balthasar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speechadvising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" IV, i, However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh.
As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance".
Contract, Friendship, and Love in The Merchant of Venice
She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the "blood", of Antonio see quibble. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws.
She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate. She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke. The Duke pardons Shylock's life.
Antonio asks for his share "in use" until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica.
At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i.
Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and Antonio's gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it.
Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk, succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise.
At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise V.
After all the other characters make amends, Antonio learns from Portia that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely after all. The title page from a printing of Giovanni Fiorentino's 14th-century tale Il Pecorone The first page of The Merchant of Venice, printed in the Second Folio of The forfeit of a merchant's deadly bond after standing surety for a friend's loan was a common tale in England in the late 16th century.
The play was mentioned by Francis Meres inso it must have been familiar on the stage by that date. The title page of the first edition in states that it had been performed "divers times" by that date. Salerino's reference to his ship the Andrew I,i,27 is thought to be an allusion to the Spanish ship St. A date of —97 is considered consistent with the play's style.
The play was entered in the Register of the Stationers Companythe method at that time of obtaining copyright for a new play, by James Roberts on 22 July under the title The Merchant of Venice, otherwise called The Jew of Venice. On 28 October Roberts transferred his right to the play to the stationer Thomas Heyes ; Heyes published the first quarto before the end of the year.
It was printed again inas part of William Jaggard's so-called False Folio. Afterward, Thomas Heyes' son and heir Laurence Heyes asked for and was granted a confirmation of his right to the play, on 8 July When she arrives, Shylock gives her the keys to his house and the responsibility of keeping it safe while he dines with Antonio and Bassanio. Upon learning there will be a masqueradehe enjoins her to shutter the windows and not "gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces".
Having no other option, Gobbo whispers to Jessica to "look out at window for all this. Shylock catches the interaction and asks Jessica what Gobbo said, but Jessica deceives him and claims he was simply saying goodbye. Shylock then complains of Gobbo's sloth and vociferous appetite, claiming he is well rid of him and glad he now serves Bassiano, whom he dislikes. He leaves for the dinner, and Jessica soliloquises: Farewell, and if my fortune be not crossed, I have a father, you a daughter, lost.
Jessica, The Merchant of Venice  In the following scene—Act 2, Scene 6—Lorenzo and his friends come to Shylock's house, and Jessica greets them from a window, dressed as a boy. She asks Lorenzo to confirm his identity before lowering a casket of her father's Ducats.
Lorenzo bids her descend, but Jessica demurs, ashamed of her disguise. Lorenzo persuades her, and she goes inside to bring more of Shylock's Ducats.
- The Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 1 – Bassanio and Antonio’s Relationship
Lorenzo praises her to his friends: Antonio then arrives to tell Gratiano that the winds are propitious for sailing and that Bassanio is leaving immediately for Belmont to woo Portia. Gratiano expresses his desire to leave the city immediately. Jessica next appears at Belmont in Act 3, Scene 2, accompanying Lorenzo and Salerio, a messenger delivering a letter to Bassiano from Antonio. The letter informs him that all Antonio's business ventures have failed, such that he has defaulted on the bond to Shylock, and that Shylock intends to collect on the "pound of flesh".
Then announces that she and Nerissa, her maid, will stay in a nearby convent while their husbands are away. In her absence she asks Lorenzo and Jessica to manage her estate. In Act 3, Scene 5, Jessica and Gobbo banter in the gardens of Belmont; Gobbo claiming that she is tainted by the sins of her father, and she can only hope that she was an illegitimate child and not actually related to Shylock.
Jessica protests that then she would be visited by the sins of her mother, and Gobbo concurs that she would be damned either way. Jessica argues that she has been saved by her husband who has converted her to Christianity, to which Gobbo replies that Bassanio of contributing to the raised price of pork by the conversion of Jews who may not eat pork to Christians who do.
Lorenzo joins them and Jessica recounts their conversation, leading to further banter between Lorenzo and Gobbo, until Gobbo leaves to prepare for dinner. In response to questioning by Lorenzo, Jessica praises Portia as great and peerless. The moon shines bright Watercolor on paper by John Edmund Buckley. Act 5, Scene 1—the final scene of the play, and following on from the courtroom scene in Act 4—opens with Jessica and Lorenzo strolling in the gardens of Belmont.
They exchange romantic metaphors, invoking in turn characters from classical literature: No sooner has Stephano informed them that Portia and Nerissa will soon arrive than Gobbo comes with the same news for Bassanio and Gratiano. They decide to await the arrivals in the gardens, and ask Stephano to fetch his instrument and play for them. After Bassanio pleads for forgiveness, Antonio speaks in support of his friend and describes what had transpired as a series of commercial transactions: I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly V.
The return of the ring to Bassanio is not from Portia to Bassanio but from Portia to Antonio who then gives it back to Bassanio. In a sense, Bassanio participates in the marital contract of Portia and Bassanio. Regardless of how one interprets these questions in The Merchant of Venice, friendship is an important good for us and something without which we cannot live.
When he believes that he is about to die, Antonio instructs Bassanio: The remark is humorous because of its implied truth: Nevertheless, both Antonio and Bassanio repeat this mistake after Antonio is saved. Back in Belmont when Portia hears that Bassanio had bestowed his wedding ring to Balthazar, she immediately chastises Bassanio for not understanding its worth: The ring symbolizes the moral relationship of love instead of contract, which Bassanio had failed to understand.
In his defense, Bassanio provides a three-folded explanation of why he gave the ring to Balthazar: Bassanio omits the fact that Antonio had urged him to give the ring to Balthazar — an explicit admission about valuing friendship over marriage — and instead resorts to an argument of honor. But Bassanio wrongly understands honor as a type of contract: But marriage and friendship are incommensurable goods: Each is valued as its own good with marriage being a superior one over friendship.
Honor properly understood would have Bassanio recognize that Balthazar should be honored as should his friendship with Antonio but not at the expense of his marriage with Portia.
But why is marriage superior to friendship? Shakespeare suggests that marriage is superior to friendship because of its procreative aspect. Traditionally marriage was the way to create and socialize children into society: Furthermore, the sexual and procreative act of marriage not only produces children but unifies the body and soul of both partners. This spiritual and physical unity is symbolized in the wedding ring which should be accorded the highest honor.
The Merchant of Venice - Wikipedia
The fact that Bassanio fails to understand this, or is unable to act upon this when it conflicts with friendship, reveals his contractual thinking about relationships: It is only when he is confronted with the possibility that Portia could also see their marriage as contractual and commensurable, e.
If Bassanio were to violate his oath, then his friendship with Antonio is to be forfeit.
Both Antonio and Bassanio fall short in participating in meaningful relationships: Although Antonio aspires for perfect friendship, he was not able to achieve it because his companions, including Bassanio, behave out of self-interest, utility, and profit rather than out of moral values like virtue. As a result, Antonio mistakes money as the essence rather than as a symbol of non-monetary values like friendship and engages in irrational behavior to the point of literally risking self-annihilation as proof of these moral values.
At the end of the play, it is unclear whether Antonio has learned how non-contractual relations like friendship and marriage should be understood and valued. Bassanio agrees that his friendship with Antonio will be the collateral to guarantee his marital oath and therefore his friendship will be subordinate to his marriage; otherwise, Portia will be unfaithful.
However, this understanding is explained and agreed to in the contractual language of Venice in the supposedly non-contractual place of Belmont.
There is no evidence in the play, particularly in the final act, that Bassanio has actually learned the value of marriage, or even friendship, on moral grounds; or, that he knows their value but lacks the social tools to participate in a meaningful relationship. This trial requires suitors to solve a riddle that filters out those who want to marry Portia for the wrong reasons.
Although Belmont appears to have a different set of values when compared to Venice, it is actually governed by the same laws of contract. This moral deterioration is most evident in the marital relationship between Bassanio and Portia, with especially the latter relinquishing his wedding ring so easily.
An examination of this marriage will show how contractual Belmont leads both characters to think and act out of self-interest. Portia stands poised to be transferred to the winning suitor, the portrait hidden in one of the three caskets that symbolizes her objectification III. On winning Portia, Bassanio immediately becomes indebted to his new wife, who has positioned herself as a creditor rather than as a prize to be handed over.
I would not trebled twenty times myself, A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich, That only to stand high in your account, I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends Exceed account III.
In other words, Portia presents herself as type of investment that appreciates value over time and can be redeemed at some point in the future. Although Portia initially trusts Bassanio with her house, servants, and herself, she later changes the terms of the contract where she becomes both owner and possessor of Bassanio III. This inversion of the usual situation, which the husband typically imposes fidelity on the wife, is not only a demonstration of feminism but a form of feminism that conceives and explains the non-contractual relationship of marriage in contractual terms.
Bassanio can only offer his blood as collateral to ratify the nuptial bonds between him and Portia. Like Portia, Jessica is bound to her father; but unlike Portia, this bond is also religious as well as paternal. Jessica has a choice to honor the bond with her father, Shylock, or follow her desires to flee with Lorenzo.
Both women also are associated with caskets and wealth: While Jessica has recklessly spent their stolen money, Portia has carefully conserved her wealth to make her husband a debtor in their relationship.
Except Shylock, those character who conceive and act in contractual terms are successful, while those who do not, such as Antonio and Jessica, fare less well. Because both Venice and Belmont are cities founded upon contract, the regimes make those who act non-contractually, whether agreeing to unreasonable loans or breaking paternal bonds, melancholic without knowing the motive behind it. Only those who are able to calculate correctly like Bassanio and Portia will be content in such a regime.
Values incommensurate with contract must either be re-conceptualized in contractual terms to be successful or face failure in a world governed by self-interest, utility, and profit. Conclusion The pattern of exchanges enforced by contracts is one, if not the, dominant theme in The Merchant of Venice. The leaden casket that Bassanio chooses is the one that contains the portrait of Portia, which in turns symbolizes his right to marry her. Portia interprets that right as a right of possession over her property and person as symbolized by the wedding which she gives to her new husband.
As the betrothed of Bassanio, she then offers many times the value of the three thousand ducats to ransom the life of Antonio III. A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch, Uncapable of pity, void and empty From any dram of mercy IV.