May 24, Antonio and Bassanio are very close and Antonio does all that he can - in Act 1 Scene 1 - to help his friend. How that relationship is defined is. Jul 14, The homoerotic undertone of Antonio and Bassanio's relationship is easily discussed by analyzing the dedication and declarations of love by. Oct 23, Free Essay: The Homosexual Relationship Between Antonio and Bassanio in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Tsun-Hsien Tsai.
Whatever slight doubt is there gets cleared by the end.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
Throughout the drama, the two friends are more dear than life to each other. Their love and trust for each other are evident at every stage of the drama. He does not differentiate between himself and his friend. Bassanio has no money and he has been living in debts which he plans to repay.
It is evident that Bassanio has to do little to persuade his friend for money. 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.
Was the Merchant of Venice gay? - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
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. 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.
What does Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship reveal about their characters?
Antonio cannot pay these debts because his ships have wrecked, costing him much of his money. Bassanio learns this and leaves Belmont to return to Venice in the hopes that he might save Antonio. He could have just sent Shylock 3, ducats to pay the debt, as Bassanio would now have the means to do so.
Also supporting the homosocial argument is the issue of the ring. Portia gives Bassanio a ring before he leaves Belmont. She tells him that the ring symbolizes all the love she has for him and that he should never give it up, for if he does, he has forsaken her for another.
In this age, unlike modern times, the man usually gave the woman a ring, but not vice versa. Portia giving Bassanio the ring is more a symbol of her dominance in the relationship, but it becomes important to the argument for a homosocial relationship between Antonio and Bassanio.
Bassanio left Belmont for the purpose of saving Antonio, but his efforts seem futile.
In this act, Portia also hands Antonio his revenge on Shylock, whom she proves has planned the death of Antonio. Portia declines the money, but demands the ring she gave to Bassanio.
Bassanio at first refuses to give up the ring, but Antonio convinces him to give it up. Playgoers must ask themselves the question: Does he love Portia at all? These are the questions raised by the incident with the ring.Explore the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice
One also wonders if Antonio is jealous of Portia. One must wonder, however, if the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio is just friendship. The pair seem to roam within the same social circles and have many of the same friends. Further, if the relationship was homosocial, would Bassanio have married Portia in the first place?
By his marriage, Bassanio cuts off any chance of his relationship with Antonio growing into the realm of the sexual. The few things that refute this argument are the same things that lend themselves to a homosocial relationship between Bassanio and Antonio. There is, however, one last argument, and its roots are in an anomaly.
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There is one line in The Merchant of Venice that could possibly destroy either of these two arguments, and that line reads: The term kinsman in Shakespeare often refers to a cousin.
This means that the line could further bolster the homosocial argument. William Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, thus one cannot ask him what the nature of the relationship was. In truth, it should be left up to the playgoer to decide what they think the true nature of the relationship is, because it will cause the play to mean more to them if they decide for themselves.