The Merchant of Venice

Back to List of Characters


Tubal is a character in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice. Though he may not be as well-known as some of the other characters in the play, Tubal plays a significant role in the story and has a unique personality that adds depth to the overall narrative.

Tubal is a Jewish merchant and a close friend of Shylock, the play's infamous antagonist. He serves as Shylock's confidant and is often consulted for advice and assistance. Tubal is portrayed as a loyal and trustworthy friend, always willing to support Shylock in his quest for revenge against Antonio, the play's protagonist.

Tubal's Role in the Play

Tubal's character is primarily involved in the subplot of the play, which revolves around Shylock's pursuit of justice and revenge. He is the messenger who informs Shylock of Jessica's elopement, which greatly angers Shylock and fuels his desire for revenge against Antonio.

Later in the play, Tubal plays a crucial role in highlighting the consequences of Shylock's vengeful actions. He informs Shylock that Antonio's ships have been wrecked, leaving him bankrupt and unable to repay his debt. Tubal's news further motivates Shylock to demand his pound of flesh as retribution.

Despite his limited stage time, Tubal's character is essential in showcasing the complexities of the play's themes. He represents the struggles faced by marginalized communities, such as the Jewish population, in a predominantly Christian society.

Tubal's character also serves as a reminder of the importance of loyalty and friendship. Despite the contentious nature of Shylock's actions, Tubal remains devoted to his friend and is always ready to assist him in his endeavors.

Shakespeare uses Tubal's character to provide insight into the complex relationships and motivations of the play's main characters. Tubal's presence adds depth and nuance to the story, allowing audiences to explore the themes of justice, revenge, and friendship from various perspectives.

In conclusion, Tubal is a minor character in The Merchant of Venice who plays a significant role in advancing the plot and exploring the themes of the play. His loyalty to Shylock and his involvement in the subplot make him an integral part of the narrative, showcasing the complexities of relationships and the consequences of vengeful actions.