In each love relationship, Shakespeare introduces a friendship to intrigue the viewer In fact, Bassanio and Portia had just discovered their mutual love for each. Bassanio and Portia's relationship is complex, with power perhaps presiding over actual love. Shakespeare delicately infuses elements of. Portia and Bassanio's relationship seems to be more equal. Even though Portia does act subordinately to Bassanio the majority of the time, she.Merchant of Venice - Very Short and Quick Guide
The couple that I would like to discuss in order to observe this motif is Bassanio and Portia. In their relationship, Shakespeare exaggerates and emphasizes how love and friendship are pitted against each other. In fact, Bassanio and Portia had just discovered their mutual love for each other and had become engaged when a friendship of Bassanio's threatened to come between them.
At this point, Bassanio was sent a message that the bond which Antonio had negotiated on Bassanio's behalf had come due at approximately the same time when Antonio's ships failed to come in. Therefore, Antonio could not pay Shylock his money.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
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.
Antonio valued Bassanio's friendship and happiness so much that he took out a loan with Shylock, his greatest enemy, so that Bassanio could be better prepared to court Portia. 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. 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. The relationship, however, whatever its true form may be, is important to the play as a whole. Without the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, there would have two stories in the play, neither of them having any bearing on the other.
In truth, neither of the stories could have occurred without the relationship. This is because the one of the acts that sets both stories in motion is Bassanio asking Antonio for money. If Antonio had not lent Bassanio the 3, ducats, Bassanio would not have been able to go to Belmont to win Portia.
Relationship Dynamics in The Merchant of Venice | readwithamy
In essence, the play would not have occurred without whatever sort of relationship Bassanio and Antonio had. Shakespeare left the playgoer or the reader so many clues to the nature of the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio that it is impossible for one to fathom exactly what the nature of the relationship was.
There are three clear arguments for the nature of the relationship, the first that the relationship was homosocial, the second that it was just friendship, and the third that they truly were kin. Without whatever relationship they had, the major conflicts in The Merchant of Venice never would have been possible because the underlying force behind the play was the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio.
Although one cannot prove which stand is true, the fact will always remain that the relationship was important to the story, as well as know that there would not be a story without the relationship of Bassanio and Antonio.
The answers are up to the one who watches or reads the play, and when one believes something and figures that something out for themselves, it is very hard to convince them that they are wrong.