Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

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The Rivals
Love triangles are complicated and messy scenarios that are caused by the indecision of the person in the middle or the inability of the others to move on. The same is seen in The Merchant of Venice, in which Antonio and Portia fight for Bassanio. Throughout the play we see many bonds or connections between both Antonio and Bassanio as well as Portia and Bassanio. To many, the main plot may seem to be the conflict between Antonio and Shylock, when in reality it’s the love that Antonio and Portia have for Bassanio that leads to everything. The main plot is moved forward by the bonds the two have with Bassanio and the rivalry they have with each other. Nearly everything that happens in the play has to do with their fight for Bassanio. Bassanio uses both Antonio and Portia for his benefits and blind in love, they desperately fight for Bassanio’s love. There is not only a homoerotic relationship between Antonio and Bassanio; there is also a power struggle between Portia and Antonio for Bassanio’s love.
In “Marginalized Voices in the Merchant of Venice” by Susan Oldrieve, while she mentions that there is a homosexual relationship between Antonio and Bassanio she contradicts herself by saying there is a father-son relationship between the two (4). Furthermore, the author fails to mention that there is also a strong relationship between Portia and Bassanio that conflicts with the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. The Merchant of Venice is not limited to a homosexual relationship between the two men but also the fight by the relationship of a male and female to take its place. Throughout the play, it is evident that there is a push and pull between the two relationships in order to gain Bassanio’s love. There are ...


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...placed by the woman in his life (Rival 6). He is handing over Bassanio to Portia when he hands over the ring to Bassanio. Hyman believes that Shylock was only a minor character in the play, the real plot revolved around Antonio, Bassanio and Portia’s love triangle (Rival 2). The rivalry between Portia and Antonio is one that drives the entire play in the direction in which it heads.



Works Cited

Hyman, Lawrence W. “The Rival Lovers in the Merchant of Venice.” Shakespeare Quarterly.
21.2 (1970): 109-116. Print.
Oldrieve, Susan. “Marginalized Voices in ‘The Merchant of Venice’.” Cardozo Studies in
Law and Literature. 5.1(1993): 87-105. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Signet Classics, 1998. Print

Shell, Marc. “The Wether and the Ewe: Verbal Usury in the ‘The Merchant of Venice’.” The
Kenyon Review. 1.4 (1979): 65-92. Print.

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