What are the complexities between the characters Antonio and Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

They are very good friends, so good that Bassanio asks Antonio for money, admitting that he is bad credit risk ("I have disabled my estate").  He wants the money to court rich Portia, and becoming rich with her, he will pay back the loan to Antonio.  Even when Antonio does not have the money, but needs to borrow it from someone he loathes ,Shylock, Bassanio does not demur and say "never mind" but takes the money anyway.  Antonio is troubled, sad from the first lines of the play, and by the end he stands on the stage by himself, everyone else living happily ever after with a lover/husband/wife.  Some critics suggest that the reason Antonio is so sadat the beginning and  so willing to die for Bassanio after defaulting on the loan is that his friendship with Bassanio goes beyond deep friendship--that he loves him deeply and perhaps longs for him in a homoerotic way.  This would account for the melancholy he cannot explain and aloneness at the end of the play.