Merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

Get an answer for 'In The Merchant of Venice, what are the relationships between Portia and Nerissa and Portia and Bassanio? ' and find homework help for. Everything you ever wanted to know about Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and navigate relationships with men (like Bassanio) who want her for her money. Portia and Bassanio's relationship seems to be more equal. Even though Portia does act subordinately to Bassanio the majority of the time, she.

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. 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.

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

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.

Relationship Dynamics in The Merchant of Venice | readwithamy

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.

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

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?

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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.

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

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.

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

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.

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.

Antonio had never even seen Portia much less know her, yet he was willing to aid his friend in finding love with her. Again, Antonio felt true friendship towards Bassanio and knew Bassanio could not be totally fulfilled with just friendship.

merchant of venice bassanio and portia relationship

As it turned out, Antonio ended up risking his very life for Bassanio and this love. On the whole, the way Antonio and Portia each understood and helped Bassanio helps the viewer to recognize that love and friendship can coexist.

However, the love and friendship must be true and understanding, and one must not feel threatened by the other.