Antonio and Bassanio are very close and Antonio does all that he can - in Act 1 Scene 1 - to help his friend. How that relationship is defined is. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first and support for this stand comes from the actions of both Antonio and Bassanio. Shakespeare has portrayed Antonio and Bassanio's relationship in a Bassanio's character is what helps develop the theme of love as an.
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.Antonio/Bassanio - Only Your Love Can Save Me
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.
The Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 1 – Bassanio and Antonio’s Relationship
If he was not the younger son, was his father a landless lord? It does not seem that Bassanio has any lands. 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.
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.
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. Antonio willingly agrees to these terms, and Bassanio heads off to Belmont to woo Portia.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
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. It is evident that Bassanio has to do little to persuade his friend for money.
Antonio is already more than willing to lend him. Antonio knows that his friend needs the money and clearly tells the Jew that had it not been so, he would have treated him just as he always does. This shows his stubbornness and proves that at his heart Antonio is innocent and a little childish.
Had it not been so, he would have been able to avoid the trap Shylock had set. This is just to show that he is doing all this for his friend and he would not like to see him disappointed. All of this shows that the two friends love and trust each other deeply and that each one of them is willing to make any sacrifice for the other. It also shows that Antonio is quite emotional about his friend and can become blinded by his love for him.
Antonio loves Bassanio from the bosom of his heart and wishes to see him before he dies at the hands of the Jew. Their friendship is not about money, but about loyalty and brotherhood. Upon being asked by Portia that who Antonio is, Bassanio replies that he is not just his best friend and the kindest man but also the most honorable person in all Italy. He is a friend who is ready to sacrifice anything for him. Portia at once understands that Antonio is a noble person who has suffered for Bassanio.
She promises to provide Bassanio with as much wealth that he can repay twenty times the debt. The debt of the friend is really big and Bassanio postpones his marriage.