30 January 2012
Antonio is saddened, yet he does not know why. His friends suppose that he is in love or his “merchandise” is making him upset (Shakespeare 40.1122). Antonio denies all of this. Antonio reminds me of a person who has everything going for them but is still depressed. He has friends who support him and he is not living in poverty. If I had to guess what was wrong with him, it would be that life has gotten him down. I think he is a little lost. He states that he does not know where the misery has come from and that he has a lot of learning to do inside himself (5-6.1121). Graziano’s advice seems the best suited for Antonio’s situation. He basically tells him to relax. “Why should a man whose blood is warm within sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster” (83-84.11230). Why should a man filled with passions and dreams sit still like a tombstone? Graziano, although there is little to no description about him, seems very wise and sensible. After Graziano leaves, Bassanio has a talk with Antonio. Antonio is a great friend. Bassanio owes him money and love and Antonio still agrees to help Bassanio out in winning the heart of the fair Portia. Bassanio wants to be in the same league as the other men that chase Portia, who is so beautiful and good, she is compared to Brutus’ wife. Portia, on the other hand, is tired of the losers that want to marry her. I do not understand Portia’s father’s conditions for her marriage. Nerissa speaks of a lottery in which men choose their “meaning” (27.1126). According to Nerissa, the one who chooses correctly will be the one that Portia falls for. Portia also hears of Bassanio and knows that out of all, he “was the best deserving a fair lady” (99.1127). The fact that Portia mentions Bassanio is foreshadowing. It is clear, the two will eventually meet later in the play. Bassanio and Antonio meet Shylock to borrow three thousand ducats. I feel so terrible for Shylock. Shylock dislikes Antonio because he is Christian and he loans money for free. Also, Antonio has called him names and spit on Shylock because he is Jewish. Shylock agrees to loan Antonio money after all of the abuse. Shylock even offers friendship to Antonio. Shylock is a bigger person than Antonio. Although Shylock is the “jew,” the very thing that many people despise, he overlooks the hatred even after Antonio admits that he would spit on him again. It is fair of Shylock to impose such a harsh consequence on Antonio if he cannot pay him back. Antonio agrees wholeheartedly to the bond because he is certain that he will be able to pay the loan back without any problem. I believe this is foreshadowing as well. It is obvious that Antonio’s ships will not come back in time and Shylock will have to take a pound of his flesh. Antonio’s arrogance when it comes to paying back all the money will backfire on him.