In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, what does Antonio and Bassanio's friendship reveal about their personalities?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Antonio and Bassanio are very close friends throughout the play The Merchant of Venice. Antonio willingly takes out a loan to fund Bassanio's trip to Belmont despite the fact that his assets are lost at sea. Antonio essentially risks his life for his friend's happiness by accepting terms from Shylock that indicate that Antonio will have to give a pound of his flesh if he defaults on the loan. Bassanio is overwhelmed with grief when he receives the news about Antonio's ships and the fact that Antonio will have to forfeit on his loan. Bassanio does not consummate his marriage with Portia and leaves Belmont immediately to return to Venice. Right before Shylock is about to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio's breast, Antonio tells Bassanio that he loves him. Bassanio responds by telling Antonio that he would gladly give up his wife and friends to see Antonio live. Antonio's willingness to risk his life for Bassanio's happiness reveals his magnanimous personality. Bassanio's loyalty is portrayed in his decision to leave Belmont to come to his friend's aid. Both Antonio and Bassanio are caring, selfless individuals who value each other.

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The Merchant of Venice

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