The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio reflects the economy of the play. Bassanio exploits 1 Throughout this essay I will be using J.R. Brown (ed.). essay sample on. How does Shakespeare The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio reflects the economy of the play. Bassanio exploits Antonio (and. It is clear that there is a relationship of trust between the two men because Bassanio approaches Antonio to ask him for a huge loan so that he may visit Belmont.
Some critics have suggested homosexual feelings between Iago and Othello, Hamlet and Horatio and other such characters, based on the fact that they remain ladyless at the end of the play.
I feel that it is dangerous to make assertions to suit our own point of view when there is no explicit evidence within the play itself. Although the physical elements of love are not discussed by Antonio in The Merchant of Venice his actions make clear his feelings for Bassanio.
One of the main themes of the play is trade and usury.
This can be seen in the interaction of the male characters. The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio reflects the economy of the play. Bassanio exploits Antonio and, to a certain extent, Portia by constantly borrowing money. Venice is the background for all the trade in the play and as such is a very male dominated area.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
It is here that Bassanio tells Antonio that his friendship means more than anything, including Portia. Belmont is set in opposition to Venice, with the feminine power of Portia and Nerissa.
Belmont uses the language of love and desire, whereas Venice uses the language of trade. It is no surprise, therefore, that we only see Shylock in Venice.
He certainly does not fit in with the romantic imagery of Belmont. He is the biggest threat to happiness in the play. We can see this in his pound of flesh speech. To Shylock money is the only important thing as a merchant. This perhaps sheds light on the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. Hyman makes an interesting point about the monetary bond between the men. In doing so she prevents the spectacle of Antonio dying for his homoerotic desire, and secures her position as unrivalled wife.
Antonio is already more than willing to lend him. Antonio knows that his friend needs the money and clearly tells the Jew that had it not been so, he would have treated him just as he always does. This shows his stubbornness and proves that at his heart Antonio is innocent and a little childish. Had it not been so, he would have been able to avoid the trap Shylock had set.
This is just to show that he is doing all this for his friend and he would not like to see him disappointed.
All of this shows that the two friends love and trust each other deeply and that each one of them is willing to make any sacrifice for the other. It also shows that Antonio is quite emotional about his friend and can become blinded by his love for him. Antonio loves Bassanio from the bosom of his heart and wishes to see him before he dies at the hands of the Jew. Their friendship is not about money, but about loyalty and brotherhood.
Upon being asked by Portia that who Antonio is, Bassanio replies that he is not just his best friend and the kindest man but also the most honorable person in all Italy. While he seems to hate Shylock, Antonio seems to have some sort of affection for Bassanio, a young lord from Belmont. Bassanio grew up in Belmont with a young lady named Portia, who was of a wealthy family.
It becomes clear early on in the play that Bassanio fell in love with Portia while they were children together in Belmont and has a strong desire to marry her. At some point, however, Bassanio immigrated to Venice, where he has been living for some time.
What does Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship reveal about their characters?
He has fallen severely into debt, which leaves the playgoer to wonder what the nature of his station is. Was he the younger son of a noble who stood to inherit nothing? He is obviously in his twenties or thirties at this time, so it is conceivable that he was the younger son if his father was dead.
If he was not the younger son, was his father a landless lord? It does not seem that Bassanio has any lands.
Could it possibly be a strange combination of the two where Bassanio was the younger son but there was not even an inheritance to give the older son. Bassanio becomes determined to go to Belmont to win her, but he needs money to do this. To this debate, there are three main stands. The first is that the relationship is a homosocial one, the second that it is merely friendship, and the third is that Bassanio and Antonio are, in fact, family.
To understand the homosocial stand, one must first understand what the term homosocial means. A homosocial relationship is very much like a homosexual relationship, however, the parties involved are not sleeping with each other, therefore the relationship is not homosexual. The stand that they are just friends is perhaps the weakest of the three, as there is little evidence that cannot be refuted on that issue.
The third, that they may in fact be kin, is also something of a strong argument, as the play states that the pair are kin. How does one know that the relationship is not homosexual, but homosocial?
The playgoer knows that the relationship is most likely not homosexual because there are no references to Antonio or Bassanio being suspected of sleeping together, or that either of them has been labeled homosexual. The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio may be homosocial, and support for this stand comes from the actions of both Antonio and Bassanio.
Antonio lends Bassanio 3, ducats and puts his own life at risk so Bassanio can pay his debts and go to Belmont. Three thousand ducats was a large sum of money during that age, and the penalty for failing to pay it would be even harsher.
Shylock, whom they borrowed the money from, demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio if he failed to repay the money. Antonio willingly agrees to these terms, and Bassanio heads off to Belmont to woo Portia. After Bassanio has left, Antonio becomes somewhat upset, almost as if he misses his friend more than he should.