Antonio And Bassanio Relationship Analysis

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Antonio and Bassanio seemingly share the ideal friendship where one is completely willing to lay his life on the line for the other. However, one must consider whether that level of devotion is truly normative to friendship, or if there was something more motivating Antonio throughout Merchant of Venice. Likewise, Bassanio’s role in the friendship and the depths of his platonic love come into question when the sincerity of his words come into doubt. While on the surface it seems that Bassanio and Antonio share a great friendship, closer examination questions if each individual harbors something more than platonic love. To understand Bassanio and Antonio’s relationship in its entirety, one must understand what the ideals of platonic love, …show more content…
His misery at the beginning of the play is heavily implied to be a result of Bassanio’s promise to tell him to whom Bassanio “swore a secret pilgrimage” (1.1.120). Bassanio plans to woo someone, and regardless of whether or not Bassanio actually would be in love with that lady he would be less-available to Antonio post-marriage. The emotional connection between them would be strained, by either distance or Bassanio’s obligation to his wife and new property. Yet even then they would still be able to visit each other, communicate with each other. His distress returns two-fold when even that is taken away, when his bonds are forfeit and his life, too. Yet it is not the fact that his life is on the line that seems to cause that distress-- it is the fact that with death he would not be able to see Bassanio again. Even his final wish to Bassanio is not for his friend to pay the bond (as he now could do with his newfound wealth), but simply to “see [Bassanio] at/ [Antonio’s] death” (3.3.319-320). Death brings out the honesty in men, and at the root of all all Antonio wants is Bassanio’s presence and the emotional comfort he derives from it. On Antonio’s end is the emotional closeness that Karandashev describes. The “elation” that he gets from the other is what will give him the comfort he needs to get through the ordeal. There is a depth to …show more content…
In any other play, a soliloquy is the audience’s best chance at seeing the “true” insights of a character when they have no need to please those around them. Yet such a chance is never given to Bassanio in the play; there is never a moment where his words can be completely taken at face value. He “live[s] upon the rack” throughout the story, but as Portia points out, those living under distress “do speak anything” (3.2.25, 33). Bound by self-interest, Bassanio’s financial situation weakens the truth of his statements. He tells Antonio that that it is the merchant who is owed “most in money and in love,” but the sincerity is thrown into doubt considering that the very meeting arranged with the intent to borrow more money (1.1.131). It could very well be simple flattery, or even playing off Antonio’s love for him if he is well aware of the latter’s affections as a way to achieve the needed-finances. Even when ulterior motives are not in play, his emotions affect his words and their reliability. He protests at Shylock’s demands for a pound of flesh while the bond is negotiated, but any reasonable person would do so out of horror, and there is no reason for him to risk being responsible for Antonio’s death. Even outside of losing a main source of money, there is the issue of social standing and what the others would say, how they would perceive him. Thus, this exclamation cannot be taken as proof of love

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