An influential and powerful nobleman merchant of venice pdf Venice, he is a middle-aged bachelor and a merchant by trade who has his financial interests tied up in overseas shipments when the play begins. He is kind, generous, honest and confident, and is loved and revered by all the Christians who know him. His willingness to die for Bassanio is a manifestation of his character.
In sooth I know not why I am so sad. I am to learn And such a want-wit sadness makes of me That I have much ado to know myself. His friends try to guess the origin and nature of his condition by questioning him. First they inquire as to whether or not he is worried about his investments. When he insists that is not the reason they ask if he is in love which he is also quick to dismiss.
It is then speculated that perhaps he has a strange temperament as some people do. This pair quickly exits to make way for Bassanio who is accompanied by his friends Lorenzo and Gratiano. Lorenzo cannot get in a word for the boisterous Gratiano who makes sport of Antonio’s melancholy telling him that he is too serious and that he himself would rather go through life acting foolish. To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage That you today promised to tell me of? Bassanio then proceeds to tell Antonio of his depleted financial state due to his own excesses, making sure to note that he is aware he already owes him money.
He laments his ill fortune but cheers at the thought of solving his problems by marrying Portia, a woman who has come into a sizeable inheritance from her father and whom he thinks is predisposed to choose him. He compares himself with Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece. He beseeches Antonio to back this venture knowing he is not likely to be refused by his generous benefactor. Indeed, Antonio, despite the fact that his capital is already at risk elsewhere, gives him a letter of credit and wishes him well. Later Antonio enters the rialto to assure Shylock that he will be bound for the 3,000 ducats Bassanio wishes to borrow. Antonio has belittled and harassed Shylock in public, and he loathes him because when Christian friends of his owed money to the Jews he paid off the debts, thus depriving them of their interest.
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee. He agrees to pay with a pound of flesh if he forfeits the bond in lieu of the usual interest. Antonio makes a brief appearance in this act in scene 6 when he runs into Gratiano and tells him he has twenty people out looking for him. He goes on to say there will be no masque and that Bassanio is at that moment preparing to leave for Belmont to woo Portia. We hear no more from Antonio until after Bassanio wins the hand of the wealthy Portia by correctly guessing which of three caskets holds her portrait. Gratiano proposes to Nerissa, Portia’s maid in waiting and friend. In the midst of his merrymaking he receives a letter detailing Antonio’s misfortune.