Although the title may serve to dissuade, the true central figure according to this The Merchant of Venice plot summary is the merchant's best friend.
Bassanio is in love with the Princess Portia. However, in order for him to win his love, he must complete a certain challenge.
The challenge consists of choosing out of three chests, the right one containing Portia's picture. There is just one problem: Bassanio does not have the means to fit himself out to impress a princess. Antonio, although he has no money himself, offers to get a loan for him.
When Bassanio realizes the stake may cost Antonio his life, Bassanio shows his nobility of spirit by begging Antonio not to do so much for him, although it may cost Bassanio a bride to persist in this persuasion.
This act shows loyalty to an old friend because hanging on that stake was all Bassanio needed to win Portia.
Thus, Bassanio is not only noble in character but also loyal to his true friend.