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I suppose on the surface of things that the hero of The Merchant of Venice is in fact a heroine named Portia. She really pulls it all off. She marries the handsome Bassanio despite seemingly insurmountable hurdles. She saves the life of her new husband's friend by finding "creative" loopholes in the law. She is able to outsmart and outwit the nasty Jew Shylock. I think Shakespeare meant us to ponder just how just and happy things turn out. By the end of the play Shylock is tricked and stripped out of everything he holds sacred including his own faith. We question the fairness of how Shylock is treated both before and during the play.