The first scene in Act III is the only scene where Shylock's friend Tubal appears. Why does Shakespeare include the character of Tubal? What purpose does he serve to the story?
On one level, Tubal's purpose in this play is to convey information. He delivers news about Jessica's activities and Antonio's likely forfeit.
More significantly, Tubal's role in the play is important because he is literally the only character in the whole play who is Shylock's friend. Every other character regards him with animosity or contempt.
Since Tubal is the only friend to Shylock we meet, his conversation with Tubal is the only time when we see Shylock talking openly and honestly with...
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