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How is the theme of friendship developed in merchant of Venice - Essay Example

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Despite love is one of the themes of the play, it is necessary to note that the theme of friendship is also an important one in Shakespeare’s work. There are…
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How is the theme of friendship developed in merchant of Venice
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How is the theme of friendship developed in merchant of Venice

Friendship between Antonio and Bassanio is both deep and complex. Male friendship is usually formed in the course of life when men share particular experiences, for example, helping each other in difficult situations. In friendship, each person is willing to sacrifice his life to help his friend, and this makes the bonds even stronger. In The Merchant of Venice, the nature of friendship between Antonio and Bassanio is different. Indeed, it is possible to say that it seems to be one-sided with Antonio being a better and more devoted comrade. From the very first scene, the audience gets to know that all Antonio worries about is not his business, which is at stake, but his friend Bassanio. It is even possible to say that Antonio is in love with his friend; perhaps, he is jealous, and this is what causes his melancholy.
While critics still argue on the issue of Antonio’s affection to Bassanio, the fact remains that Antonio cares about his friend more than Bassanio cares about him. Bassanio, in his turn, seems to take advantage of such affection. The matter is that he is used to live outside of his means and always relies on Antonio to give him money. As Shakespeare puts it into Bassanio words, “To you, Antonio, / I owe the most, in money and in love, / And from your love I have a warranty / To unburden all my plots and purposes / How to get clear of all the debts I owe” (I. I. 132-136).
Apart from financing all the plans and affairs Bassanio has, Antonio also chooses to support his friend in quite an unusual way so that Bassanio is happy. In particular, despite the fact that all the assets Antonio has are spread out, he does not give up an idea to secure happiness of Bassanio. He goes to his enemy Shylock and agrees “seal unto this bond”, to give one pound of his flesh if he cannot pay off the debt (I. I. 169).
At the same time, Bassanio tries to be a good friend as well. He remembers whom he owes his happiness and ... Read More
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