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Homosexuality in the Merchant of Venice

  • Date Submitted: 12/19/2010 12:59 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.6 
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Homosexuality in The Merchant of Venice

Key words:   homosexuality   theme         Antonio
            Shakespeare     Renaissance   Humanism

Abstract: In Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, one hidden theme is the idea of homosexuality. This essay attempts to analyse the hidden homosexual love in The Merchant of Venice, and expound homosexuality in the Renaissance briefly.

    The intriguing contradictions of The Merchant of Venice are ethnic conflict, Religion Conflict, and the " Friendship" is always highly praised. However, the comedy actually is not a paean to friendship and love as it is often supposed to be.
    Read between the lines, and we can find the homosexual love . Bassanio prospered in his suit , and he was immersed in a great sense of satisfaction and enjoyment, after which, he received the letter from Antonio. The letter says that Antonio was was going to die, and he wished to see Bassanio once more before he died:

    “Notwithstanding, use your pleasure;
      if your love do not persuade you to come,
      let not my letter.”

    "Your love" here may refers to the fraternal love,the affection to the new wife,or Bassanio's beloved. It depends on the understanding of readers.
      The letter alerted Portia of the possibly homosexual love between her fiance and another man . In the court, Portia awarded the one pound of flesh to Shylock.   Antonio gave a farewell embrace to Bassanio,and Antonio acted as if he had left life and death out of consideration. To die in the court may helps him to fulfill his wishes to some degree, which brings him a moral victory, because   the homosexual love between he and Bassanio is going to be replaced by the heterosexual Love between the new couple. Antonio gave his friend a statement as farewell:

    "Commend me to your honorable wife.
    Tell her the process of Antonio’s end.
    Say how I love you,
    And, when the tale is told,
    bid her be judge


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