Friendship between Antonio and bassanio:
The play I have studied is William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’. The relationship that I believe is most important is that between Antonio – the merchant of the title – and his dearest friend, Bassanio. I think that this relationship is characterised by selflessness and love on the part of Antonio, and an initial carelessness and thoughtlessness on the part of Bassanio, although he does come to realise what he has done to his friend and tries his best to make amends.
Antonio appears to be a lonely man who has nobody close to him but Bassanio. When we first meet Antonio, he seems world-weary: ‘In sooth, I know not why I am so sad’; and it seems that the only thing he lives for is his friendship with Bassanio. Salanio recognises this when he says of Antonio ‘I think he only loves the world for [Bassanio]’.
The love Antonio has for Bassanio means that he is willing to do anything his friend asks. We know that he has already lent money to Bassanio, but even though Bassanio has not repaidthat money, Antonio is willing to lend him more. He assures Bassanio that ‘My purse, my person, my extremest means / Lie all unlocked to your occasions’.
Antonio’s ships are still at sea, so he has not yet the money to lend to Bassanio, but his love for his friend is so great that he is willing to borrow money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. This is not something he would normally do, but he says that ‘to supply the ripe wants of my friend / I’ll break a custom’.
Shylock makes what seems to be a ridiculous demand. If Antonio’s ships do not come in andbring the money he owes Shylock, then Shylock can take a pound of Antonio’s flesh. I believe that the way in which Antonio and Bassanio respond to this shows us something very important about their relationship. Antonio is willing to agree to the bond because he loves Bassanio so much, and Bassanio – despite some token resistance – agrees to it. I think that this shows...