How would you describe the friendship of Antonio and Bassanio in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice?
Antonio and Bassanio are very close friends who have a great deal of loyalty to one another. They are both well-respected members of Venetian society. That being said, it is worth noting that their relationship is not entirely an equal one. Antonio is a rich and successful merchant, whereas Bassanio is regularly faced with financial difficulties (which he is trying to escape from). It is this context that shapes much of The Merchant of Venice's plot.
With that in mind, there is an element to which Antonio is both a friend and patron to Bassanio, and Bassanio himself is reliant upon his friend's continued generosity. That being said, you should not underestimate the strength of their relationship: Antonio takes on significant personal and financial risk for Bassanio's sake. Bassanio, as the play begins, seeks to marry the heiress Portia , and to do so, he goes to Antonio, requesting to borrow funds to assist him in this goal. However, at this point, all of Antonio's resources are tied up in...
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