The Alternative Sexual Directions in the Merchant of Venice


Merchant of Venice Essay: The Relationship between Antonio and Bassanio

Antonio, the protagonist of the story, is extremely good friends with Bassanio. I have come up on a hypothesis that Antonio is gay and Bassanio is a bisexual. Antonio seems to like Bassanio in a romantic way. Antonio is a male. Bassanio is a male. Bassanio likes Antonio in a romantic way and also loves Portia, a female.

Also, there is another pair who I am suspicious about. They are Salanio and Salerio. The reason is that they are always together, just like siamese twins. When Salanio comes, Salerio comes. When Salerio goes, Salanio goes.

Here is a famous quote by Shakespeare, “The love that dares not speak its name.” In the play, there are many places where Antonio expresses love for Bassanio; for example, “love the world for Bassanio” and also “great affection for Bassanio”.This certainly appeals to me that Antonio likes Bassanio as more than just a friend. “Great affection” means you love, adore, or even worship someone. Antonio therefore adores Bassanio.

Another thing that makes me wonder is where Salerio and Salanio come and go? They are always together. Unless they are living together, this is a mystery. But let’s say they are living together. A male and a male doing the same things and living together?

I conclude that Antonio is gay because he loves and adores Bassanio, Bassanio is bisexual because he loves both Antonio and Portia. But this is not the end. Think about these: In the masquerade, Jessica went as a boy. She likes to dress up as boys; Nerissa likes Portia in a romantic way. I will not go into these subjects because the essay would be too long.

Category: Shakespeare