Antonio Essay Research Paper AntonioAntonio is a

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Antonio Essay, Research Paper Antonio Antonio is a wealthy merchant in the city of Venice. Although central to the play, Antonio is portrayed by Shakespeare as an ‘outcast’. It seems that Antonio is chronically depressed and is not involved in the social atmosphere that is thriving in Venice. - “In sooth, I know not why I am so sad: It wearies me; you say it wearies you; But how I caught it. Found it, or came by it, What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to learn:”1 Along with Shylock, both men seem bitter and have difficulty in expressing their emotions. On many occasions friends, such as Salerio and Bassanio have questioned his sadness, trying to find an explanation for their great unhappiness with themselves and with the world. - Salerio: “But tell

not me: I know Antonio Is sad to think upon his merchandise.2 Antonio: “Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it, My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year: Therefore, my merchandise makes me not sad.”3 Salanio: “Why, then are you in love.”4 Antonio: “Fie, fie!”5 The mystery of Antonio’s sadness remains, as he dismisses the prospect that his sadness is related to his ships or a lost love. Uninterested in the ‘world’ of suitors and marriage, Antonio is left without his lifelong companion, Bassanio after he travelled to Belmont to woo Portia. Early in the play another side of Antonio is revealed. Antonio is displayed as a hard cruel man, although a Christian, he displays hatred and

contempt towards the Jewish race, usurers and especially towards Shylock. After kicking and spitting upon Shylock, Antonio shows no remorse or sympathy for the man he has abused. Antonio even goes to the point of saying that he would once more spit upon him and kick him like a stray dog. - “I am as like to call thee so again, To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather to thine enemy; Who if he break, thou may’st with better face Exact the penalty.”6 Many people would ask the question, why would someone in Shylock’s position want to give anything to a person who has treated them as badly as Antonio? However, under the interest

free bond that Shylock has created with Antonio lies a need for revenge so great that Shylock will do anything to take the life of Antonio. At the beginning of Act 3 the bad news of Antonio’s ships, lost at sea is spreading around Venice. Jessica confirms that Shylock will be maintaining the bond that was created now that Antonio has no way of paying back the bond. - “When I was with him, I have heard him swear To tubal and to Chus, his countrymen, That he would rather have Antonio’s flesh Than twenty times the value of the sum That he did owe him; and I know, my lord, If law, authority, and power deny not, It will go hard with poor Antonio.”7 With the realisation that Antonio’s death is imminent, Antonio, like someone with a terminal illness gives up all hope of

survival. Most people would fight literally for their lives against Shylock, but Antonio had progressed beyond sadness and had lost his will to live. Antonio’s immediate acceptance of Shylock’s bizarre bond signals the secret ‘death wish’ that Antonio holds very close to his heart. Antonio’s sudden wish to die, brought about through great sadness and loneliness is affecting Bassanio greatly, who takes responsibility for what has happened. - “Antonio, I am married to a wife Which is dear to me as life itself; But life itself, my wife, and all the world, Are not with me esteem’d above thy life: I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all, Here to this devil, to deliver you”8 A moment of comedy is brought out after this speech through Portia (Bassanio’s wife), posing