Kinsmen or "Cousins"
Portia listens to Nerissa's advice about moderation, but she points out Hearing how much Antonio owes Shylock on behalf of her husband, she Bassanio go to Venice immediately after he's finished the marriage business in Belmont. To understand the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, one must first When this happened, Shylock, a moneylender, lost most of his income because. catagories but especially those of Shylock and Bassanio. Shylock's job is as Characters and Relationships in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
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.
Other friends suggest that Antonio only loves life itself because of Bassanio. Antonio seems to wish for a more honest world in which there is no confusion between reality and appearance.The Merchant of Venice - Characters of Shylock, Bassanio and Portia
A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O what a goodly outside falsehood hath! Reveal answer down He is accepting of his fate. His final words to Bassanio are all about love. He asks Bassanio not to grieve and says he is more than happy to pay this debt for his friend. As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance". She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the "blood", of Antonio see quibble.
Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws. She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate. She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke.
The Duke pardons Shylock's life. Antonio asks for his share "in use" until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i.
Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer.
BBC Bitesize - KS3 English Literature - Characters - Revision 4
First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and Antonio's gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it. Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk, succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise. At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise V.
After all the other characters make amends, Antonio learns from Portia that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely after all. The title page from a printing of Giovanni Fiorentino's 14th-century tale Il Pecorone The first page of The Merchant of Venice, printed in the Second Folio of The forfeit of a merchant's deadly bond after standing surety for a friend's loan was a common tale in England in the late 16th century.
The play was mentioned by Francis Meres inso it must have been familiar on the stage by that date. The title page of the first edition in states that it had been performed "divers times" by that date. Salerino's reference to his ship the Andrew I,i,27 is thought to be an allusion to the Spanish ship St. A date of —97 is considered consistent with the play's style. The play was entered in the Register of the Stationers Companythe method at that time of obtaining copyright for a new play, by James Roberts on 22 July under the title The Merchant of Venice, otherwise called The Jew of Venice.
On 28 October Roberts transferred his right to the play to the stationer Thomas Heyes ; Heyes published the first quarto before the end of the year.
It was printed again inas part of William Jaggard's so-called False Folio. Afterward, Thomas Heyes' son and heir Laurence Heyes asked for and was granted a confirmation of his right to the play, on 8 July The edition is generally regarded as being accurate and reliable. It is the basis of the text published in the First Foliowhich adds a number of stage directions, mainly musical cues.
Critics today still continue to argue over the play's stance on the Jews and Judaism. Shylock and Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb. Shylock as a villain[ edit ] English society in the Elizabethan era has been described as "judeophobic".
In Venice and in some other places, Jews were required to wear a red hat at all times in public to make sure that they were easily identified, and had to live in a ghetto protected by Christian guards. One interpretation of the play's structure is that Shakespeare meant to contrast the mercy of the main Christian characters with the vengefulness of a Jew, who lacks the religious grace to comprehend mercy. Similarly, it is possible that Shakespeare meant Shylock's forced conversion to Christianity to be a " happy ending " for the character, as, to a Christian audience, it saves his soul and allows him to enter Heaven.
The Nazis used the usurious Shylock for their propaganda. Shortly after Kristallnacht inThe Merchant of Venice was broadcast for propagandistic ends over the German airwaves. This was the first known attempt by a dramatist to reverse the negative stereotype that Shylock personified.
With slight variations much of English literature up until the 20th century depicts the Jew as "a monied, cruel, lecherous, avaricious outsider tolerated only because of his golden hoard". Many modern readers and theatregoers have read the play as a plea for tolerance, noting that Shylock is a sympathetic character. They cite as evidence that Shylock's "trial" at the end of the play is a mockery of justice, with Portia acting as a judge when she has no right to do so.
The characters who berated Shylock for dishonesty resort to trickery in order to win. In addition, Shakespeare gives Shylock one of his most eloquent speeches: Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh. What's that good for? To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies — and what's his reason?