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 ...view middle of the document...
To mention wife and friend in the same breath means that Antonio takes Portia as a rival in love. The love between a man and a woman is exclusive while the affection between friends of the same sex generally not. Antonio should be happy since his friend proposed successfully , but he suffers from thethe secret agony of his soul, since his affection to Bassanio is exclusive as well. It thence appears that the conflict of homosexual love with heterosexual love is is one the the main conflicts in the comedy.
After winned the lawsuit and rescued his good friend,，Bassanio was put in a very difficult position , however. He wondered whether he should reward the young lawyer with his engagement ring which he had promised to preserved for his whole life. Antonio took the opportunity of belittling the love between the couples and said:
"My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
Let his deservings and my love withal
Be valu’d ’gainst your wife’s commandment."
Thus it can be seen that the "friendship" between the two men is actually homosexual love .
The writing background of The Merchant of Venice is the Renaissance, a time in which the Churches negative and prohibitive attitude towards homosexuality in general...