Merchant of Venice Antonio Essay

862 Words Jan 22nd, 2015 4 Pages
“Bigoted and spiteful”and “well-intentioned and loyal”, which of these views best describes the character of Antonio in your question. In “Merchant of Venice”, Antonio is the main character as he is the “merchant” in the story in Venice. As Antonio is a Christian, he is quite anti-Semitic and rude to Shylock, making some people believe that he is spiteful and bigoted. However, most of the play centers on him being the victim of the “villain” of the play, Shylock due to their bond they made. As Antonio is willing to give everything for Bassanio without any payment and he strikes at any chance to help Bassanio, I believe Shakespearian and modern audiences would believe him to be more of a well-intentioned and loyal friend. At the start …show more content…
Antonio tells Shylock how he “neither lend nor borrow by taking nor by giving of excess, yet to supply the ripe wants of {his}friend {he’ll} break a custom.” He states that he would never “lend or borrow by taking nor giving of excess” showing his clarity on what he would never associate himself with. This sentence also ends with a sneering note, because “taking and giving excess” is something Antonio and Christian never practice and despise, so one can see this line as mocking Shylock’s practice of usury. “Yet” is a strong word in this quotation, because it starts off at the start of a line and it leads onto the strong reason behind Antonio’s exception on the use of usury this time. Antonio’s only reason to trade with Shylock is to “supply the ripe wants of {his} friend”, showing how he is doing this just for his friend and just to make sure he supples the “ripe wants” of Bassanio, meaning something excess and additional. “I’ll break a custom” also shows the seriousness of the matter, where Antonio is breaking a sort of rule and religious practice just for Bassanio. This shows his good intentions on using usury and loyalty to his friend. However, this exception of using usury leads onto devastating consequences on Antonio’s part, as his loyalty for his friend is much more obvious, so much that his life is in peril for his friend. Antonio is willing to be bound for Bassanio without a moment’s

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