As a character, Gratiano is perhaps most notable for what he lacks. His friendship with Antonio rings rather hollow compared to the friendship between Antonio and Bassanio, as is made clear when Gratiano delivers a rambling speech on the subject of Antonio’s melancholy that Bassanio dismisses: “Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than / any man in all Venice.” Gratiano’s marriage to Nerissa appears to similarly lack depth. That they choose to marry simply because Bassanio chose the right casket suggests their union is reactionary rather than a culmination of their feelings for one another, and based on passing whims rather than true love. This speaks to the question of the legitimacy of romantic love in The Merchant of Venice, but in terms of the plot, the marriage serves a much more straightforward purpose, now allowing for Portia and Nerissa’s parallel trick on their new husbands in the final act. The reveal of Portia and Nerissa’s deception inserts a note of levity into the play after the disquieting cruelty of the trial, cheered on by the joyful and utterly callous Gratiano.