English Group Project Essay

Submitted By Justin-Havea
Words: 738
Pages: 3

'The Merchant of Venice': Love Love in 'The Merchant of Venice' is introduced in a variety of forms. There's love between family members, friends, and lovers, but it's commonly represented more for its absence than its presence. There's a vast majority of implications involving betrayal, deceit and animosity when speculating about love relationships ­ although when analyzing the theme of 'love', love itself is conjured, sacrificed, and misused, despite generally being built on an established foundation. Love has many cons and pros, doubts and twists, but ultimately love is introduced when two characters become seemingly attached to one another ­ shown in the development of a relationship. Shakespeare's odd fashion of exhibiting love distinguishes the relationships between every character ­ little gestures of aiding one another, or scheming courteous deeds to show their love, is shown when gradually progressing throughout the play. Love in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is complicated. It is complicated, because love when written by Shakespeare is always complex, as we saw in Romeo and Juliet. We can witness the complications displayed by Shakespeare through the relationship between Antonio and
Bassanio. During the Elizabethan Era, society saw it as normal for men to have other men as their ‘bed­fellows’. With Queen Elizabeth agreeing with this act, it wasn’t unusual for people to express these friendships through love. The relationship between Bassanio and Antonio displays the kind of society and economy in the Elizabethan Era. Shakespeare brings out the inner feelings of the two characters through Act 4, in which Antonio says “Grieve not that I am fall’n to this for you.” However Shakespeare makes things complex with Bassanio’s response,
“Antonio, I am married to a wife, which is as dear to me as life itself;” Shakespeare makes it clear, about Antonio’s feelings for Bassanio, when Antonio agrees to lending Bassanio money, knowingly just for the sake of impressing Portia. The audience then senses a relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, when Bassanio replies saying “to you Antonio I owe the most in money and in love”. However many may argue, that was just Bassanio’s
‘childlike’ attitude. Furthermore, Shakespeare presents love through the relationship between
Bassanio and Antonio, in a very unusual and difficult to understand, type of format. Bassanio and Portia have untethered love which is established over & over by their various courteous deeds done for one another; an understanding two­way relationship where both individuals are happy. Although, there are relationships like Shylock's love for his daughter
Jessica which is one­sided or even Antonio's slightly homophobic & brotherly love for
Bassanio. Its only now that we discover love has a range of different meanings to different people in 'The Merchant of Venice'. In retrospect Portia deceived Bassanio by acting nonchalant and girlishly infatuated by his presence, somewhat delirious with love, but in the end she asserts her utmost control over Bassanio. This could be a…