The Character of Antonio in The Merchant Of Venice
Antonio is a wealthy merchant in the city of Venice. Although central to the play, Antonio is portrayed by Shakespeare as an 'outcast'. It seems that Antonio is chronically depressed and is not involved in the social atmosphere that is thriving in Venice.
"In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it. Found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn:"1
Along with Shylock, both men seem bitter and have difficulty in expressing their emotions. On many occasions friends, such as Salerio and Bassanio have questioned his sadness, trying to find an explanation for their great unhappiness with themselves and with the world. -
Salerio: "But tell not me: I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.2
Antonio: "Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore, my merchandise makes me not sad."3
Salanio: "Why, then are you in love."4
Antonio: "Fie, fie!"5
The mystery of Antonio's sadness remains, as he dismisses the prospect that his sadness is related to his ships or a lost love. Uninterested in the 'world' of suitors and marriage, Antonio is left without his lifelong companion, Bassanio after he travelled to Belmont to woo Portia.
... middle of paper ...
...rchant he once was when his ships returned from sea laden with goods. However, the only sadness for Antonio is that he has been deprived of the chance to sacrifice himself as a gesture of his true nobility.
1 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 1. Lines 1-5 - Antonio.
2 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 1. Lines 39-40 - Salerio.
3 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 1. Lines 41-45 - Antonio.
4 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 1. Line 46 - Salanio.
5 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 1. Line 47 - Antonio.
6 Merchant Of Venice. Act 1, Scene 3. Lines 126-133 - Antonio
7 Merchant Of Venice. Act 3, Scene 2. Lines 123-189 - Jessica
8 Merchant Of Venice. Act 4, Scene 1. Lines 280-285 - Bassanio
9 Merchant Of Venice. Act 4, Scene 1. Lines 286-287 - Portia/Doctor of Laws
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