How does the sub-plot involving Jessica and Lorenzo support the main plot of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice structurally and thematically?

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Jessica's eloping with Lorenzo helps motivate Shylock's hatred against the main characters, but it also reveals certain sympathetic elements of his character. He is deeply upset by her marrying without his consent, especially to a Christian. For Shylock, whose fury at Christians comes from their prejudice against the Jewish minority, this strengthens his resolve to get that pound of flesh from Antonio, the Christian he hates most.

Shylock's reaction to Jessica's actions also shows he has a more vulnerable side. He mentions that one of the valuables Jessica took with her was a turquoise ring his deceased wife, Leah, gave him before they were married. He claims he would not have given the ring up for anything, showing its value for him is sentimental rather than monetary. This goes against Solanio's mocking of Shylock's grief.

This shows that Shylock is not just weeping over blows to his wallet or self-respect, which people like Solanio believe to be the case. Shylock's heart has been broken...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 641 words.)

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