The Homosexual Relationship Between Antonio and Bassanio in William presented through the financial help given by Antonio to Bassanio. It is obvious throughout the play that Antonio and Bassanio have a great affection for and he owes the love only as a gratification for Antonio's financial aid. Shakespeare has portrayed Antonio and Bassanio's relationship in a Bassanio's character is what helps develop the theme of love as an.
Therefore, Antonio could not pay Shylock his money. When Bassanio heard of this, he felt pulled by his friendship to help Antonio. Portia and Bassanio's marriage had not even been consummated when Bassanio rushed off to help Antonio, his friend. Here we can see how Shakespeare exaggerates the normal struggle between love and friendship to draw attention to how the situation is handled.
Shakespeare also emphasizes the point that only true love and friendship can complement each other and coexist. Only because Portia understood Bassanio and his need to help Antonio could she so easily allow him to leave her so soon after their marriage.
She did not feel threatened by his friendship with Antonio and furthermore understood it. She displayed this by taking the risk of impersonating a lawyer to help Antonio even though she had never met him. On the other hand, a close look at Antonio's actions reveals how friendship gives way to and even helps bring about the love between Bassanio and Portia.
It is obvious throughout the play that Antonio and Bassanio have a great affection for one another. Antonio is willing to lend money to Bassanio even though he is likely to squander it on his lavish lifestyle. The theme of love as an economy runs throughout the play.
What does Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship reveal about their characters?
Here the word love, rarely used in the erotic form in writing of the period, does not seem to suggest any homosexuality between the men. There are, however, suggestions throughout the play that the love between them may be slightly deeper than it first seems. It is notable here that Bassanio does not leave of his own accord. He is certainly not the hero who valiantly goes to rescue his friend.
It seems from the text that Bassanio is free of any homosexual desire.
This unequal love is implied by the fact that Antonio is willing to give up his life for his friend and yet Bassanio is willing to see him die for the financial bond. There is something exploitative in him allowing Antonio to guarantee the contract with his life. He has childlike ideals of money and he seems somewhat controlled, even by Portia.
It is, however, biased to import sexuality onto characters when there is little textual evidence to support the claim. When we look at a relationship such as that of Antonio and Sebastian in Twelfth Night where the insinuation of homosexual desire is far more evident from the text alone it suggests that people often look for themes in a text which are only tenuously suggested and build an argument around them.
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. However, there is a deeper, almost unspoken tale linking these two stories together: Shakespeare leaves his reader tantalizing clues as to how this relationship developed, what the true nature of it is, and why it is important to The Merchant of Venice. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first understand the characters on their own.
Antonio, apparently born and raised in Venice, is a wealthy merchant. Probably about thirty or forty years old, he owns many ships and uses them for trade overseas, most likely to the Orient and other distant lands. His credit in Venice is good due to his wealth, and that credit is vital because he often ties up his assets in business ventures. His wealth is why Shylock does not care for him very much.
It turns out that Antonio repaid all of the debts owed to Shylock. When this happened, Shylock, a moneylender, lost most of his income because he would not be able to seize the property of those who owed him money.
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.
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.
Bassanio’s Sexuality | Exploratory Shakespeare
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.Antonio and Bassanio
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.