The original play:
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: A popular quote from the play is "So shines a good deed in a weary world," although this is actually a misquote of "So shines a good deed in a naughty world," popularized by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
- Reality Subtext: The play was first written and produced in the wake of Roderigo Lopez, a Portuguese doctor of Jewish descent, being accused of trying to poison Queen Elizabeth I. Anti-Semitic sentiment was running rampant, and a number of playwrights, including Shakespeare, sought to capitalize on it by writing plays about villainous Jews.
- Trope Namer:
- All That Glitters: Paraphrasing the inscription inside the golden casket ("all that glisters is not gold"). In this case it's the least ornate casket, the one of lead, that contains Portia's portrait.
The 2004 adaptation:
- Actor Allusion: Joseph Fiennes plays Bassanio having also played Shakespeare himself.
- Edited for Syndication: The TV version had to have the brief kiss between Antonio and Bassanio edited out.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Shown Their Work: The bare breasted prostitutes are historically accurate; Venetian law at the time required all prostitutes to bare their breasts because Christian authorities were worried about the rampant homosexuality in the city.
- What Could Have Been: