The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

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What is the relationship between Nerissa and Gratiano in "The Merchant of Venice"?

What is the relationship between Nerissa and Gratiano in "The Merchant of Venice"?

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Nerissa and Gratiano's relationship is a traditional one, in keeping with most marriages of the time. Gratiano is very much the dominant partner in the marriage, with Nerissa occupying a more subordinate role. That said, Nerissa shows herself to be an intelligent woman, acting as a trusted confidante to Portia. She also shows herself to be highly spirited, more than able to stand up for herself. For instance, she loudly berates her husband for breaking his solemn promise to her; he gave away their wedding ring to a lawyer's clerk as payment of a fee. As with most relationships, then, their marriage has its fair share of ups and downs.

But, on the whole, one would have to say that Nerissa and Gratiano's marriage is very much a love match. In that sense, they are emulating the example of Portia and Bassanio, whose relationship theirs closely mirrors. Indeed, Portia also berates Bassanio for giving away his wedding ring to the lawyer who saved Antonio . Though, of course, it was Portia in...

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