The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Start Your Free Trial

In The Merchant of Venice, is Antonio in love with Bassanio?

Expert Answers info

pippin1313 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write61 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Social Sciences

There is a school of thought that says that Antonio is homosexual and in love with Bassanio but there is not really enough evidence in the play to support this. It is more likely that Antonio is a kind of fatherly figure to Bassanio and is...

(The entire section contains 138 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

high-functioningfangirl | Student

I think Antonio is probably in love with Bassanio. At the begining of the play, Antonio is sad for some reason. When his friends ask him if he's worried about his ships at sea, he calmly explains why he isn't. But when they ask him if he's in love, he immediately shouts "Fie! Fie!" Meaning something similar to "Of course not!" It might just be me but this scenario seems familiar. When you ask a child, teenager, or sometimes young adult if he or she has a crush on someone, that person might respond by shouting something like "

This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)
hadijaved | Student



muddy-mettled | Student

In a nice book of notes for the general reader by Laurie E. Maguire we find the idea that Shakespeare intended to suggest that Antonio MAY be homosexual.  Add Samuel Johnson's  "the poet of nature" comment and one might say that in nature, homosexuality is uncommon and therefore it is more likely that Antonio was a rival suitor of Shylock's wife Leah as the play is often listed as a romantic comedy.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
dhanukasparsh | Student

not actually, but he loves hm as a true friend or you can say as best friend,as he could spare his life(a pound of flesh)without any hesitation


check Approved by eNotes Editorial
mykes | Student

in these days, friendship is not as strong as it used to be. so, antonio's feelings toward Bassanio, were most likely sincere and friendship. theer is no friendship without love, so if antonio is bassanio's friend, he must love him!  these days, it is awkward to tell someone of opposite gender, much more the same, that you love that person, but the bond between antonio and Bassanio was stronger than that! besides, maybe we look at it in the wrong context!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
angel4life | Student

 I think that Antonio had deep feelings for Bassanio and yes i think he was sad because Bassanio was in love with Portia but to say if he was homosexual it's still pending. Antonio risked his life for Bassanio which shows that they had something special.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
locoops012 | Student

Well in Act 1 Scene 1 when Antonio is talking about his sadness he made it clear that it was not because of his ships or anything of that matter.....after Salanio found out that he is not sad because of his ships he figured that Antonio was simply inlove or has found love and Antonio replied "Fie, Fie" meaning "Nonsense, Nonsense". Unless Shakespeare is trying to portray Antonio as a man who hides his emotions from others, Antonio has made it clear that he isn't inlove. Therefore Antonio cannot be inlove with Bassanio because Antonio denied the fact that he has found love or is inlove..vice versa. I hope this answers your question.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
chardin48 | Student

There is no lie.  Antonio's ships are all at sea, true, but in four different ships sent to four different ports, therefore not all in the same place.

Antonio did not plan to risk his life.  The suggestion was made by Shylock--as a jest it seemed--when Shylock pretended to be offering friendship.  There was no real thought from anyone that he would actually require it until the ships were all lost and he claimed his bond.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
ganesh2010 | Student

I would say that Antonio is not gay because of the fact that there is not enough evidence in the play that suggest that or to show that. I would say he loved Bassanio so much because they were good friend ad Antonio would have considered Bassanio as his BROTHER.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
sillylilly16 | Student


      i  believe  antonio  willing  did  this  to  prove  to  bassanio  the  lenghts  he  would  go  to  prove  his  love.because  when  shylock  said  that  the  payment  was  a pound  of  flesh from  any part  of  his  body where  ever  pleases him. antonio had  the  money  so  he  could  have  walked  away  but he signed  the  deal even  though  bassanio  objected .  why  did  he  do  this . antonio  even  remains single at  the  end. even lorenzo the poor clown found love  but  rich Antonio  didnt  .  was  shakespeare  telling  us  something ?



check Approved by eNotes Editorial
sillylilly16 | Student

            Didnt  he  tell  salanio  and  solerio in  act  one  scene  one  that  all  his  ventures  arent  at  sea  "believe me  no. all  my  ventures are  not in  one  ship....  or  place...." . And  later  on  he  tells  bassanio  when  they   were  left  alone that  all  his  wealth is  at  sea .why  would  he  lie.  isnt  it  because  he  wanted  bassanio  to  go  out  to  borrow  money ,  and  antonio who  had  the  knowledge that  within  the  time  they  were  living  in  the only people  who  lends  money  is  their bitter  enemies THE  JEWS .he  knew  that even if the money  was loaned  to  bassanio by  the  use  of  his  name  he  would  have  to  pay  that  debt  and  obviously  shylock  wanted  intrest  on  that  payment.  hence  asking  for  a  pound  of  flesh.


check Approved by eNotes Editorial
sillylilly16 | Student

My answer  is  more  of  a  question  and  hopes  to  be  answered by  pippin 1313 or  any  teacher  or  well informed  student .  In the  very  begining  of  this  play, the  words  used  by  antonio tells  me  personally that  he  is   sad  .  also  the  reason  why  he  is  sad  is  even  strange  to  him .  he  says  it  makes  him  feel  like  a  dunce  or  as  used  in  the  play  a  "wit -want sadness." He  knew  that  bassanio  was  in love  with a  fair  lady  because that  was  the  first  question he  asked bassanio  when  they  were  left alone . that is  what  he  was  thinking  of  in  the  begining. thats  what  made  him  feel like a dunce  sadness "HOW  WAS  HE  GOING  TO  TELL A  MAN  ...  HIS  FRIEND  BASSANIO  THAT  HE  LOVED  HIM  LIKE  A  SOULMATE WHEN  BASSANIO WAS  ALREADY  IN  LOVE  WITH PORTIA."additionally  to  this ,  if  his  feelings  were  strange  or  uncommon  that  means  that  in  the  time  this  book  was  written (1600) people  never   really felt  this  way  towards  whatever  he  felt  it  for,(homosexualism.). if  he  does  like bassanio  as  a  son  then  WHY  DID  HE  LIE  TO  BASSANIO.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial