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The Lost Hero

In: English and Literature

Submitted By samfrost
Words 621
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ntonio is a successful Venetian merchant and the title character of this play. He owns several ships that travel all over the world. Antonio's best friend is Bassanio. Antonio's situation is that he would do almost anything for Bassanio, but in the beginning of the play, when Bassanio asks for a loan, Antonio is short of cash. Bassanio, who has been frivolous with his money in the past, promises that he has a plan that will allow him to pay back Antonio everything he owes him. Because of his love of his friend, Antonio seems unable to refuse him. Since Antonio has no cash, he does the next best thing, he offers his credit to Bassanio. Whether Bassanio knows it or not, he ends up borrowing money from a man Antonio detests, Shylock.
Antonio, who is a proud and confident man when it comes to money, signs a bond authorizing Bassanio to borrow 3,000 ducats (gold coins) from Shylock. The bond with Shylock states that Antonio will owe no interest; but in its place, Antonio must give Shylock a pound of his flesh if he cannot pay the debt back in the stipulated time period. Antonio barely squirms, so sure is he of having triple that amount in three months. He signs the agreement without a shrug.
Antonio's emotions lie elsewhere--not in business dealings. In the first lines of the play, Antonio admits to sadness. It appears that he does not know the reason for this sadness. It is possible, he says, that it is his fate to be melancholy. People around him find no reason for Antonio to be depressed. He is one of the most successful businessmen in the city. If it is not money, then it must be a lack of love or maybe it is too much love. The curious circumstances surrounding Antonio's melancholy at the beginning of the play have generated some debate among critics. Some commentators interpret the merchant's sadness as an indication of his inability to reconcile the accumulation…...

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