Merchant of Venice Character List

Shylock A Jewish moneylender in Venice. Angered by his mistreatment at the hands of Venice’s Christians, schemes to eke out his revenge by ruthlessly demanding, as payment, a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
Portia A wealthy heiress from Belmont. Her beauty is matched only by her intelligence, is bound by her father’s will to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly among the three caskets. Marries Bassanio, and later disguises herself as a young law clerk to save Antonio from Shylock’s knife.
Antonio The merchant whose love for his friend Bassanio prompts him to sign Shylock’s contract and almost lose his life. Has incorrigible dislike of Jews, yet proves merciful to Shylock, albeit with conditions
Gratiano A friend of Bassanio’s who accompanies him to Belmont. He is Shylock’s most vocal and insulting critic during the trial. Falls in love with, and eventually weds Nerissa.
Jessica Shylock’s daughter, hates life in her father’s house, and elopes with the young Christian gentleman, Lorenzo.
Lorenzo A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, is in love with Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. Schemes to help Jessica escape from her father’s house, and he eventually elopes with her to Belmont
Nerissa Portia’s lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano and escorts Portia on Portia’s trip to Venice by disguising herself as her law clerk.
Launcelot Gobbo Bassanio’s servant. A comical, clownish figure who is especially adept at making puns, leaves Shylock’s service in order to work for Bassanio.
The Prince of Morocco A Moorish prince who seeks Portia’s hand in marriage. Asks Portia to ignore his dark countenance and seeks to win her by picking one of the three caskets. Certain that the caskets reflect Portia’s beauty and stature, picks the gold chest, which proves to be incorrect.
The Prince of Arragon An arrogant Spanish nobleman who also attempts to win Portia’s hand by picking a casket. In the end he picks the silver chest which proves to be incorrect.
Salarino A Venetian gentleman, and friend to Antonio, Bassanio, and Lorenzo. Escorts the newlyweds Jessica and Lorenzo to Belmont, and returns with Bassanio and Gratiano for Antonio’s trial.
Solanio A Venetian gentleman, and frequent counterpart to Salarino
The Duke of Venice The ruler of Venice, who presides over Antonio’s trial. Although powerful, his state is built on respect for the law, and he is unable to help Antonio.
Old Gobbo Launcelot’s father, also a servant in Venice.
Tubal A Jew in Venice, and one of Shylock’s friends
Doctor Bellario A wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portia’s cousin. Gives Portia’s servant the letters of introduction needed for her to make her appearance in court
Balthasar Portia’s servant, whom she dispatches to get the appropriate materials from Doctor Bellario.
Bassanio A gentleman of Venice, a kinsman, and a dear friend to Antonio. His love for the wealthy Portia leads him to borrow money from Shylock with Antonio as his guarantor. Proves himself a worthy suitor, by correctly identifying the casket that contains Portia’s portrait.