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The Merchant of Venice Essay | Critical Essay #6

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Critical Essay #6

[Hyman maintains that the primary action of The Merchant of Venice centers on the struggle between Portia and Antonio for Bassanio's affection, or the competition between friendship and marriage. Viewed in this manner, the critic continues, Antonio's bond with Shylock represents the merchant's attempt to retain Bassanio's love. Hyman then discusses the Elizabethan context of Antonio and Bassanio's relationship, asserting that it does not necessarily suggest homosexual yearnings on the merchant's part, rather, it reflects a close, platonic association that was quite common in Shakespeare's day. From this issue, the critic contends, Shakespeare creates dramatic ten sion in the' trial scene (Act IV, scene i) not merely between the adversarial relationship of Antonio and Shylock, but also through the rivalrous nature of Portia and Antonio's love for Bassanio. According to Hyman, Antonio's willingness to submit to Shylock's bond reflects his desperate attempts to maintain his relationship with his...

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This section contains 4,547 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Merchant of Venice Study Guide
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The Merchant of Venice from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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