Is Bassanio a selfish friend in The Merchant of Venice?  

Expert Answers
iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much has been made of the friendship between Bassanio and Antonio in Shakespeare's The Merchant of VeniceOften, readers note that both Bassanio and Antonio go to great lengths to help each other. While this fact is true, it's also worth considering that Bassanio is, in fact, quite selfish. For instance, Bassanio convinces Antonio to fund his efforts to woo Portia (which, it's worth mentioning, Bassanio does because he's broke and thinks Portia's fortune will help him financially), thus forcing his best friend to go into debt. While it's true that Bassanio then rushes to Antonio's aid when things with Shylock go sour, it's hard to avoid thinking that it was Bassanio's self-interested desire for money and love that got his friend into such a sticky situation. As such, even if Bassanio is at times a good friend, it's entirely reasonable to also consider him to be selfish.  

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question