"Same sex friendships are stronger than any other relationships" Discuss with reference to 'The Merchant of Venice'.

Essay by Paulos January 2004

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Same sex friendships can be very similar or very different to other relationships. There are considerations such as loyalty, respect and ability to communicate in all relationships but the way in which you go about them can be different. For example, the same sex friendship has no defensive barriers that we tend to put up when confronting the opposite sex. After all its only natural to be defensive when with the opposite sex, people become more aware of their actions thus resulting in a less accurate portrayal of who they really are which in turn leads to less open, close relationships.

The Merchant of Venice shows a strong male bond between Antonio and Bassanio, and strengthens the idea that male friendship outweighs all other considerations. Karen Newman also argues this point, as she claims that the process of a selection of caskets to find the right husband is simply trafficking women and that the exchange "promotes and secures bonds of male friendship between Bassanio and Antonio".

I agree with the idea that the issues within the play tend to strengthen the bonds between the two men, however if it wasn't for Antonio's sheer generosity and loyalty to his friend the bond could have been broken or weakened. The fact that Bassanio is willing to put his life on the line for his male friend can't be defined as anything else but an act of love. Whether or not the director of the play wants to display this love as platonic or of a more sexual nature is solely his or her liberty. I think it would be difficult to make Bassanio's character believable or 'realistic' when putting on a production, though it is important for me to not fall into the trap of seeing the characters in a play as...