Shylock and antonios relationship questions

shylock and antonios relationship questions

describe what there relationship is like in the play and how it develops throughout (act one scene one to act four scene one) thank you!. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first understand the While he seems to hate Shylock, Antonio seems to have some sort of affection for . These are the questions raised by the incident with the ring. The relationship between Antonio and Shylock is contentious; Antonio is heroic, but Shylock is villainous. How does the relationship between Antonio and Shylock affect the plot of The Merchant of Venice? Compare Antonio with Bassanio and Portia with Shylock in The Merchant Of.

It has been suggested that Antonio and Bassanio have had a homosexual relationship.

shylock and antonios relationship questions

Character attributes Loyal — Antonio is a good friend to Bassanio and puts his own life on the line to help him out. Honest — when Shylock demands his pound of flesh, Antonio does not fight or complain but accepts that he has entered into a contract, no matter how unpleasant.

Portia and Shylock Interview

Generous — we learn from Shylock that Antonio often gives loans without charging interest. Shylock complains that this makes business difficult for moneylenders like himself.

Shylock — the Jewish moneylender admits his hatred for Antonio early on Changes in character Antonio is melancholy at the start of the play but cannot name the cause of his sadness. Later, he behaves aggressively towards Shylock who claims that Antonio curses him in public. Antonio declares his love for his best friend, Bassanio, and seems prepared to even die for him. Antonio insists that the moneylender give up his faith and convert to Christianity.

shylock and antonios relationship questions

Character analysis In what ways does Antonio show his love for Bassanio? He also shows that he is prepared to risk his life for his friendship when he signs the contract with Shylock.

BBC Bitesize - KS3 English Literature - Characters - Revision 4

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. 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.

shylock and antonios relationship questions

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. 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.

shylock and antonios relationship questions

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. The few things that refute this argument are the same things that lend themselves to a homosocial relationship between Bassanio and Antonio. There is, however, one last argument, and its roots are in an anomaly. There is one line in The Merchant of Venice that could possibly destroy either of these two arguments, and that line reads: The term kinsman in Shakespeare often refers to a cousin.

This means that the line could further bolster the homosocial argument. William Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, thus one cannot ask him what the nature of the relationship was.

In truth, it should be left up to the playgoer to decide what they think the true nature of the relationship is, because it will cause the play to mean more to them if they decide for themselves. If a play causes the viewer to think for themselves about the play, to try to fathom the facets of the story, then the play is far more effective.