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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: September ::
Re: Antonio and *MV*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 726. Wednesday, 27 September 1995
 
(1)     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Sep 1995 20:26:11 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0724 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(2)     From:   Terence Martin <STSMART@UMSLVMA>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Sep 95 08:13:49 CDT
        Subj:   Antonio
 
(3)     From:   John Owen <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Sep 1995 13:29:07 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Sep 1995 16:26:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Sep 1995 20:26:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 6.0724 Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0724 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
How is Antonio alienated from Venice's materialism?  As a merchant, he seems
much more capitalist than those aristocrats who either inherent Belmont, steel
Jessica (and her's Dad money), or mooch around merchants like him.  I'd say the
division is a class distinction between new money and old families.
 
The link between money and friendship seems original to Antonio, as well. It
is, after all, he who starts throwing money around in hopes of becoming friends
with a part of the aristocratic set.
 
Cheerio,
Sean.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Martin <STSMART@UMSLVMA>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Sep 95 08:13:49 CDT
Subject:        Antonio
 
Joseph Green's excellent comments on Antonio's character and the role of
homosexuality in the play also, to my mind, help explain Shakespeare's choice
of title for the play.
 
Terence Martin
UM-St. Louis
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Sep 1995 13:29:07 -0700
Subject: 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
I am grateful for Joseph Green's analysis of the Antonio problem, concise and
sensible as it is. Unfortunately, Mr. Green's premises are spoiled by that same
old misreading of Shylock's character and motives which seems to infect every
discussion of the subject. Shylock hates Antonio because he is a Christian, but
MORE than that, because Antonio lends without interest and thus hampers
Shylock's business affairs. This is not my version of events, it is
Shakespeare's and Shylock's own. I hope someone recognized the source of my
paraphrase above -- an aside, where Shylock may be assumed to be honestly
revealing his own motives. Conversely, Antonio despises Shylock because it is
convenient (Shylock is a member of a persecuted religious minority) but MORE,
because Shylock lends money with interest, a practice hateful to the Merchant.
Shakespeare presents both characters as deeply flawed, however. Antonio's
extreme generosity to Bassanio is no sign of homosexuality -- rather it is a
sign of Antonio's inabil ity to recognize the value of his pos  sessions. By
devaluating the material he lends, he devaluates the loan itself, and the
friendship as well. If we can recall Act V without sneering at its good
spirits, we see that Portia's main intention with the ring business is to
demonstrate to Bassanio the importance of possessions, lest Antonio's victory
seem an endorsement of imbecile generosity. It is regrettable that this most
important of the play's themes is so often pushed to the sidelines by the
racial issue.
 
John Owen
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Sep 1995 16:26:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0724  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
If Antonio is against the materialism of Venice, why does he continue to be a
merchant, a proto-Capitalist if you will. He sends ships out to "buy cheap,"
and then brings these cheap goods back to Venice to "sell dear." That is indeed
how you "make money." When Antonio gets on Shylock's case for "breeding money,"
I see an example of one money-maker using a metaphor to bash another
money-maker greedy.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk,
 

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