Saturday, August 3, 2019

Merchant of Venice Essay: Antonios Love for Bassanio -- Merchant Veni

Antonio's Love for Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚   Antonio feels closer to Bassanio than any other character in The Merchant of Venice. Our first clue to this is in the first scene when, in conversation with Antonio, Solanio says, "Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman, / Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well: / We leave you now with better company" (i. i. 57-59). Once Antonio is alone with Bassanio, the conversation becomes more intimate, and Antonio offers an indebted Bassanio "My purse, my person, my extremest means" (137). We find out later that Bassanio needs money to woo Portia, a noble heiress who Bassanio intends to marry. And though Antonio is not in a position to loan money at the time, he does not disappoint Bassanio: Neither have I money, nor commodity To raise a present sum; therefore, go forth; Try what my credit can in Venice do: That shall be racket, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. (124-128) Antonio does not make these offers to any other character in The Merchant of Venice. In fact, there is only one scene in which Antonio is present and Bassanio not; in act 3 scene 3, and even then Antonio ends the scene with a plea for Bassanio: "Pray God, Bassanio come / To see me pay his debt, -- and then I care not" (iii, iii, 35-36). Antonio expresses love for Bassanio to him several times throughout the play ("You know me well, and herein spend but time / To wind about my love with circumstance" [i, i, 154]; "Commend me to your honourable wife: / Tell her the process of Antonio's end; / Say how I loved you" [iv, i, 273-275]). But whether the love Antonio holds for Bassanio is either sexual or platonic is never overtly answered, which leaves speculation ... ...of Venice." Shakespeare Quarterly 37 1: 20-37. Granville-Barker, Harley. "The Merchant of Venice." Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism, Leonard Dean, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. Kahn, Coppelia. "The Cuckoo's Note: Male Friendship and Cuckoldry in The Merchant of Venice." Shakespeare's "Rough Magic", Peter Erickson & Coppelia Kahn, eds. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1985. Patterson, Steve. "The Bankruptcy of Homoerotic Amity in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice." Shakespeare Quarterly 49, 1: 9-32 Shakespeare, William. "The Merchant of Venice." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press, 1998. Sinfield, Alan. "How to Read The Merchant of Venice Without Being Heterosexist." Alternative Shakespeare Volume 2, Terrance Hawkes, ed. New York: Routledge, 1996   

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