Thursday, January 10, 2013

Antonio in The Merchant of Venice

I still can’t decide whether or not I liked Antonio. He seemed to be an honest and successful businessman the The Merchant of Venice, but on the other hand I think he’s rather unwise. Antonio was an Italian merchant—or a businessman would be more suitable. He had a number of ships to carry his commodities. Apart from it, he was famous for lending money without interest. I don’t know why he’s doing that, for charity? Did he do it only to help friends? In that case, he might have had a lot of friends, because who didn’t want to be his friend for such generosity? But as a businessman, I think that was unwise. I prefer a man who could separate his business and personal side.

Anyway, Antonio has agreed to help his best friend Bassanio. In order to propose to a wealthy girl he loved, Bassanio needed a large amount of money, this lead him to do business with Shylock, a wicked Jewish money lender. When Shylock hesitated to lend the money, Antonio came and guaranteed the credit with his commodities that were expected to arrive within sometimes. Unfortunately a catastrophe caused Antonio to lost all his ships; he was about to fail settling the debt, and Shylock—who had been hated Antonio since long—saw an opportunity to crush his enemy in front of the court.


I started to dislike Antonio when he helplessly submitted himself in front of the court, as if he would accepted anything Shylock would ask from him because he could not pay the debt. At this, I just wanted to yell at him, ‘Oh come on Antonio…you’re a businessman, right? Think of something, can’t you just borrow money from your business partners? Of all the money you lend them, can’t you ask some of them to pay some amount in advance? Can’t you borrow from your customers? Businessman should have been creative in things like this. What a businessman were you, that one loss had made you surrendered your life to a villain like Shylock?

Really, Antonio shouldn’t be called a successful businessman in the first place! He kept accepted Shylock’s request in front of the judge. But look what happened when Portia came to the rescue and reversed the situation; Antonio forced Shylock to become a Christian. I did not understand him (Antonio), he seemed to be a generous person (lending money to friends needed help) without interest, as if he was a good Christian; but on the other hand he forced Shylock to change his religion.

I could not sum up at the end, what Antonio’s personalities were; was he a good businessman or merely a stupid man? One thing is clear, he is dear to his friends…

1 comment:

  1. I think that he might have known that Shylock would NEVER be allowed to get that pound of flesh from him, and decided to agree to that bond in a plot to destroy him, and most likely, force him to become a Christian against his will. He's not a good person, for years he has bullied Shylock until Shylock couldn't take it anymore, until Shylock wanted revenge, and even after he wanted revenge. He tried to get revenge, but he wasn't allowed to because he is a Jew.


What do you think?