Kinsmen or "Cousins"
How would you describe the friendship of Antonio and Bassanio in The depth of their relationship is mirrored in the closeness shared between Portia and her As he reads the letter concerning this issue, Portia sees him grow deathly pale. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first of the three, as there is little evidence that cannot be refuted on that issue. Regarded in literary circles as one of Shakespeare's “problem plays,” The Merchant of In Michael Martin's account of Antonio and Bassanio's relationship, Solanio and Bassanio which Martin describes as “an infinite deal of nothing,”.
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.
Ties that Bind: Friendship and Love in The Merchant of Venice | Rebecca Marquez - rhein-main-verzeichnis.info
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. 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.
Antonio | Exploratory Shakespeare
Playgoers must ask themselves the question: Does he love Portia at all? These are the questions raised by the incident with the ring. 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. From interpretations examining the meanings generated by certain performances of the play to ideas of anti-Semitism, this work has created an array of educated and plausible interpretations beginning in the 19th century and carrying into the 21st century. Though there are a variety of arguments that suggest alternate loci for the difficulties created in the work, this paper will argue that the pre-eminent problem rests in the presentation of relationships — both romantic and friendly — in the play.
To understand the issues created by the relationships in The Merchant of Venice, it is necessary to examine the motivations behind the friendships.
What does Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship reveal about their characters?
When these principles of friendly relations have been extracted, a close examination of the romantic relationships is undertaken to determine the point of discord between the two forms of bonds.
Although it is difficult if not impossible to quantify emotions, Shakespeare creates an acute sense of unease in the presentation of feelings that are vocalized and those left unexpressed by the main characters in The Merchant of Venice.
If his sadness is indeed elicited by Bassanio as many critics have suggested, does this mean that the relationship between the men is strictly platonic or is it plausible to interpret such emotions as heartsickness from Antonio for Bassanio?
A thorough and critical analysis of the play is not necessary to come to this conclusion. An example of this tension arises when, in what is stereotypically associated with a display of romantic love, Antonio unthinkingly agrees to provide Bassanio with all of the funds he needs to reach his anticipated bride-to-be Portia, in Belmont. Interestingly, though the sentiments expressed by both men seem to be equivalent, Antonio makes a greater physical sacrifice in his demonstration of love.
In his argument, Martin opines that there are three forms of friendship presented in the text that include: Although it is difficult to ascertain the presentation of friendship within this cultural and historical sphere of time, based on the dynamics of other relationships around these two men, it is apparent that their relationship is unique in its dedication and abandonment of personal safety.
In contrast, the relationship retained by Portia and Nerissa, though similar in its homosocial orientation to that of Antonio and Bassanio, is predicated on a set of socially Marquez 4 determined factors.
Although this hierarchical status division could have created an impediment in their relationship, the women seem to maintain a mutually reciprocated bond of closeness. In their exchanges in the second scene of Act I, the women complement each other, querying and responding as if from one mind. This too, can be likened to the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio in that the majority of the focus is given to Bassanio but their discussion and resulting actions are done without coercion or impetus.
In this trick, Marquez 5 it is unclear what the women hope to achieve for in the refusal of payment the men would have appeared to be thankless but in giving the rings, they appear wanton to their wives.
From the perspective of the women, it seems that the trick was a mere amusement in which first one woman and then the other attempted to dispossess the men of their wedding rings. Neither woman appears to be particularly forlorn when they both succeed in retaining the rings but rather seem to take pleasure in holding the error over Bassanio and Gratiano.