In The Merchant of Venice, why does Jessica run away from Shylock and why does she take his money?
In The Merchant of Venice, Jessica runs away from her father Shylock in order to pursue a relationship with Lorenzo. Shylock and Jessica are Jewish and Lorenzo is Christian, so Shylock does not approve of their relationship. These religious descriptions also reinforce dark stereotypes. Shylock is a heartless loan shark, earning money from other’s misfortunes. He is also a miser and his servant, Launcelot Gobbo, lives in a destitute state. Shylock is mistreated by the Christians in Venice, which helps explain why he is so demanding with his loans, and it specifically drives the plot, as he will not back down from his repayment of a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
Instead of trying to convince her father to support her relationship with Lorenzo, Jessica instead decides to run away with him.
Jessica takes Shylock’s money to financially support their eloping. She also takes his money to splurge. Shylock’s lack of financial support to his servant most likely extends to his daughter and helps...
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In Act II, Scene 3, we get an idea as to why Jessica is going to leave her father and run off with Lorenzo. She implies it is because he acts in evil ways. She'd rather run off and become a Christian than stay with her father who does these things (presumably lending money at interest and being a Jew in general).
I think she steals the money partly as a way to get back at her father, partly as a way to prove her love for Lorenzo, and partly because she's smart and it makes sense to have money when you run away from home.