BBC Bitesize - KS3 English Literature - Characters - Revision 5
Jessica is the daughter of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, in William Shakespeare's The . Portia dispatches Bassanio to Venice to assist his friend, pausing only long enough for them to be married. For the Jessica–Shylock relationship, John Drakakis, the editor of The Arden Shakespeare's third series edition, highlights. n thanks for helping in advance Jessica and Lorenzo were true lover as Jessica left her house and father for him even when she knows that. She is evidently embarrassed to be Shylock's daughter, for, as she says, she does not behave as he does or have his attitude. Jessica seems to be truly determined to leave her father, and she is desperate enough to relinquish her Jewish faith to marry a Christian. In The Merchant.
They decide to await the arrivals in the gardens, and ask Stephano to fetch his instrument and play for them. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; — Lorenzo, The Merchant of Venice  Portia and Nerissa enter, followed shortly by Bassanio, Antonio, and Gratiano.
After they are all reunited, Nerissa hands Lorenzo a deed of gift from Shylock, won in the trial, giving Jessica all of his wealth upon his death.
Fled with a Christian! O, my Christian ducats!
The Relationship between Father and Daughter and Their Portrayal in The Merchant of Venice
In this version it is Munday's Jessica analogue, Brisana, who pleads the case first in the courtroom scene, followed by Cornelia, the Portia analogue. The Christian in love with a Jewess appears frequently in exemplum from the 13th to the 15th century. However, in this story the Christian lover flees alone with the treasure.
His daughter, Floripas, proceeds to murder her governess for refusing to help feed the prisoners; bashes the jailer's head in with his keychain when he refuses to let her see the prisoners; manipulates her father into giving her responsibility for them; brings them to her tower, and treats them as royalty; does the same for the remaining ten of the Twelve Peers when they are captured too; helps the Peers murder Sir Lucafere, King of Baldas when he surprises them; urges the Peers to attack her father and his knights at supper to cover up the murder; when her father escapes and attacks the Peers in her tower, she assists in the defence; then she converts to Christianity and is betrothed to Guy of Burgundy; and finally, she and her brother, Fierabras decide that there is no point trying to convert their father to Christianity so he should be executed instead.
The reason for the cruelty of the Sultan's two children is quite obvious. In the romances there are two sides: Once Floripas and Ferumbras had joined the 'good' side, they had to become implacable enemies of the Sultan.
There was no question of filial duty or filial love; one was either a Saracen or a Christian, and that was all there was to it. There is not any other moral standard for the characters. Religion, race, and gender[ edit ] Critical history[ edit ] Literary critics have historically viewed the character negatively, highlighting her theft of her father's gold, her betrayal of his trust, and her apparently selfish motivations and aimless behaviour.
In her survey, "In Defense of Jessica: In the interim between the signing of the bond and its falling due this daughter, this Jessica, has wickedly and most unfilially betrayed him. Quite without heart, on worse than an animal instinct—pilfering to be carnal—she betrays her father to be a light-of-lucre carefully weighted with her sire's ducats.
In such a reading Jessica's actions amount to abandoning her father and betraying him to his enemies. She was still viewed as inhabiting primarily negative values, in contrast with the positive values associated with Portia, Bassanio, and Antonio.
The relationship of Jessica and Lorenzo to the primary lovers, Portia and Bassanio, consistently is contrastive and negative: Slights highlights comedies where children rebel against a miserly father, or romances where daughters defy a repressive father for love. These conventions would be familiar for both Shakespeare and an Elizabethan theatre audience, and, indeed, modern audiences tend to accept Jessica's actions as natural within the context of the plot.
Her escape from Shylock's repressive household to Belmont a quest for freedom, and from misfortune to happiness. Similarly, in Salernitano's 14th novella, the daughter makes off with her father's money, to the same effect.
It ranks him with the miserly fathers in Elizabethan and classical comedies, who are only fit to be dupes of their children …. The first critical notice of Jessica in the 18th century was made by William Warburtonwho commented on the line in Act 5, Scene 1: This changed the meaning, as an acerbic Malone points out: I should not have attempted to explain so easy a passage, if the ignorant editor of the second folio, thinking probably that the word get must necessarily mean beget, had not altered the text, and substituted did in the place of do, the reading of all the old and authentick editions; in which he has been copied by every subsequent editor.
Launcelot is not talking about Jessica's father, but about her future husband. I am aware that, in a subsequent scene, he says to Jessica, 'Marry, you may partly hope your father got you not;' but he is now on another subject.
Malone's position turned out to be somewhat controversial. In his revised edition in[d] multiple notes appeared in response.
The first, by George Steevensoffers an alternate reading of the passage: Malone, however, supposes him to mean only—carry thee away from thy father's house. Malone charges the editor of the second folio so strongly with ignorance, I have no doubt but that did is the true reading, as it is clearly better sense than that which he has adopted.
Launcelot does not mean to foretell the fate of Jessica, but judges, from her lovely disposition, that she must have been begotten by a christian, not by such a brute as Shylock: At further issue was Malone's tarring of all the previous editors with the same brush, for which Steevens was particularly sore. Malone's response was simply that "In answer to Mr. Steevens, I have to state that I printed this play inand that Mr.
Reed's edition did not appear till I may add that I communicated to that gentleman this very correction. In the age of Shakspeare it is probable that some shade of meaning at present undeterminable, was occasionally affixed to the words sweet and sweetness.
He has lost gold, jewels, his daughter, and finally, the ability to continue the family name in the form of a grandchild. As we see later in the play, this decision, perhaps unavoidable, will have a great affect on Shylock and the entire story.
At first glance, it appears Jessica and Portia are in similar situations, two women in love, their desires being withheld because of the demands of their fathers.
However, after closer examination, there are glaring differences between both the situations and the two characters themselves. Portia is a wealthy heiress, left in charge of Belmont by her deceased father, the former king.
The caskets, bearing three separate inscriptions, are meant to separate the gold diggers from the true suitors, a final helpful measure taken by the king to ensure that neither his daughter nor his fortune is taken advantage of. Of course, Portia cannot understand the precaution, instead desiring freedom from her deceased father. Shylock sees Jessica more as valued property, a collectable that will one-day produce a grandchild, thus carrying on the family name. He realizes his daughter may encounter problems separating well-meaning suitors from greedy con men.
Therefore, he devises a test, a way in which Portia will be sure the man she marries is noble and good intentioned.
A set of three caskets, one gold, one silver and one lead are set before any potential suitor. The perspective husband and future king of Belmont must choose one of the three caskets. If the correct one is chosen, the man will receive all that accompanies the title of king.
However, an incorrect choice means the man must go the rest of his days unmarried, a punishment for making the wrong decision.
The Prince of Morocco and the Prince of Argon go first, selecting the gold and silver caskets, respectively. The Prince of Morocco sees the scull of death in the gold casket, while the Prince of Argon, an old and decrepit man, sees the picture of a fool in the silver casket. However, Bassanio, ever the gambler, insists on selecting immediately.
He chooses the dull lead casket, a decision, which wins him the hand of Portia.
Jessica (The Merchant of Venice) - Wikipedia
As the play concludes, the reader begins to see how intrinsically different Jessica and Portia really are. In turn, this makes the tyranny of the two fathers different as well. Shylock holds Jessica hostage, a mere possession to be counted amongst the rest of his fortune. Shakespeare makes this point in Act V, when Jessica and Lorenzo discuss their relationship in terms of three love stories, each of which ends in tragedy and heartbreak.