The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0884 Wednesday, 18 April 2001
Date: Wednesday, 18 Apr 2001 01:07:49 -0400
Subject: 12.0869 Re: Tragic Hero
Comment: Re: SHK 12.0869 Re: Tragic Hero
Sean Lawrence has asserted that I
"might be confusing him [Bassanio] with Lancelot Gobbo, who is accused
of getting up the negro's belly in 3.5" when I wrote earlier that
Bassanio's previous sexual experience had made him a fortune-hunter
rather than a lover.
Again, I am away from my books and can't quote exactly, but the
reference is in the early part of the play when Bassanio says woefully
to Antonio that he had earlier lost his substance on "pregnant" ventures
that left him penniless. His whole motive in coming to Antonio is to
recoup this lost fortune by marrying Portia, and he seeks an
introduction to be received by Portia through Antonio. I know that
Antonio's sexuality is not mentioned in the play, but he is described in
the first scene as "sad" without knowing why. I do believe that we have
endlessly discussed on this list that Antonio may be homosexual. I am
just suggesting that he may have had a lot of cheap women, on the model
of Bassanio, and that he is tired of having women that way but doesn't
particularly want to marry because it is so easy to get cheap women.
Now he is lonely and bored with sex.
This explanation for his "sadness" seems as plausible to me as the one
that he may be homosexual and fits the language of the play as well as
the conduct of young "wastrels." The reference that I cannot quote from
memory is surely to the story of the "Prodigal Son" as I do believe the
word "prodigal" is mentioned in the exact quote.
Can anyone help me here?
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