BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Antonio
Others suggest that he has a homosexual relationship with Antonio. Bassanio She and Gratiano's relationship seems to parallel that of Portia and Bassanio's. Is Antonio a homosexual character who has a crush on Bassanio in Merchant of What is the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio?. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first How does one know that the relationship is not homosexual, but homosocial?.
He compares himself with Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece. He beseeches Antonio to back this venture knowing he is not likely to be refused by his generous benefactor. Indeed, Antonio, despite the fact that his capital is already at risk elsewhere, gives him a letter of credit and wishes him well. Later Antonio enters the rialto to assure Shylock that he will be bound for the 3, ducats Bassanio wishes to borrow. Antonio has belittled and harassed Shylock in public, and he loathes him because when Christian friends of his owed money to the Jews he paid off the debts, thus depriving them of their interest.
Act 2 Antonio makes a brief appearance in this act in scene 6 when he runs into Gratiano and tells him he has twenty people out looking for him.
He goes on to say there will be no masque and that Bassanio is at that moment preparing to leave for Belmont to woo Portia. Act 3 We hear no more from Antonio until after Bassanio wins the hand of the wealthy Portia by correctly guessing which of three caskets holds her portrait. Gratiano proposes to Nerissa, Portia's maid in waiting and friend.
In the midst of his merrymaking he receives a letter detailing Antonio's misfortune. None of the ships have returned to port and as such he has no funds to pay the bond with.
His flesh is forfeit to the Jew who is intent on having it. He insists he does not regret helping Bassanio and even does not wish him to feel guilty.
He only asks him to come and attend his death so that he can see him one last time. Bassanio, along with Gratiano, rushes off with three times the amount owed and his wife's blessing. The gentlemen leave in such a rush that they cannot consummate their marriages. Antonio, with Solanio and the jailer in attendance, tries to reason with Shylock and convince him to stop pursuing payment of the flesh, but to no avail.
Further angered by the elopement and conversion of his daughter Jessica to one of Antonio's Christian friends, Shylock is more determined than ever on revenge. Shylock looks to the law to allow him to fulfill in a legal manner his murderous intent. Antonio is not optimistic about his chances remarking that "The Duke cannot deny the course of law. 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.
BBC Bitesize - KS3 English Literature - Characters - Revision 5
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.
- Was the Merchant of Venice gay?
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.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
The pair seem to roam within the same social circles and have many of the same friends. He appears to be rich and successful. At the start of the play he is depressed. The reason for this is never made clear. Why do you think he is so sad? He is a good and generous friend to Bassanio. He is happy to lend him money, even though Bassanio is in his debt already and Antonio has to borrow money to do so.
Solanio, describing Bassanio's departure to Belmont, says of Antonio and Bassanio's friendship, "I think he only loves the world for him".
When news comes of his lost ships, Antonio asks Bassanio to come home, but does not force him. He writes, "use your pleasure" When he believes he is going to die, he tells Bassanio, "Say how I loved you," and seems glad to be paying Bassanio's debt with his life.