Internet Shakespeare Editions


Love and money

"Angels" -- coins illustrating St. Michael.

The Merchant of Venice is ambivalent in its presentation of merchants in love. Bassanio's love for Portia is at least in part motivated by financial need. She is an attractive woman but she also has enough money to pay Bassanio's debts. Marriage is presented not only as a union of two people in love, but also as a union of their wealth and property. Compare too the love of Jessica and Lorenzo, where the young lovers rapidly spend the money that Jessica, in effect, steals from her father.