why did bassanio borrow money form shylock?conflict between shylock and antonio

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dkaye | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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Bassanio needed to borrow money in order to woo the wealthy and beautiful Portia, a noblewoman with an estate.  To woo such an important woman, Bassanio needed to dress well, prepare gifts for her, travel to her estate, and generally spend money to present himself in the best possible way.

Unfortunately, Bassanio was careless with money, and did not have enough to properly woo Portia. Therefore he asked Antonio, his close friend and a generally successful merchant, to loan him some money.

Antonio didn't have any actual money, because he invested it all in some ships (he was a merchant, after all--investing is how he made money).  Antonio expected his ships to return soon, so he decided to help Bassanio by going to Shylock, a professional moneylender, to borrow money until his ships returned.

In other words, Bassanio didn't borrow directly from Shylock -- he borrowed from Antonio, who borrowed from Shylock -- and he did it in order to try to win Portia.


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