Love triangles are complicated and messy scenarios that are caused by the indecision of the person in the middle or the inability of the others to move on. The same is seen in The Merchant of Venice, in which Antonio and Portia fight for Bassanio. Throughout the play we see many bonds or connections between both Antonio and Bassanio as well as Portia and Bassanio. To many, the main plot may seem to be the conflict between Antonio and Shylock, when in reality it’s the love that Antonio and Portia have for Bassanio that leads to everything. The main plot is moved forward by the bonds the two have with Bassanio and the rivalry they have with each other. Nearly everything that happens in the play has to do with their fight for Bassanio. Bassanio uses both Antonio and Portia for his benefits and blind in love, they desperately fight for Bassanio’s love. There is not only a homoerotic relationship between Antonio and Bassanio; there is also a power struggle between Portia and Antonio for Bassanio’s love.
In “Marginalized Voices in the Merchant of Venice” by Susan Oldrieve, while she mentions that there is a homosexual relationship between Antonio and Bassanio she contradicts herself by saying there is a father-son relationship between the two (4). Furthermore, the author fails to mention that there is also a strong relationship between Portia and Bassanio that conflicts with the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. The Merchant of Venice is not limited to a homosexual relationship between the two men but also the fight by the relationship of a male and female to take its place. Throughout the play, it is evident that there is a push and pull between the two relationships in order to gain Bassanio’s love. There are bonds throughout the play that tie Antonio to Bassanio as well as those tying Portia to Bassanio, making it hard to understand which relationship is more important to Bassanio.
Shakespeare makes it obvious that he is writing the play with attention to the rivalry between Antonio and Portia. There is a parallel in the way the two characters are introduced to the play as both mention their sadness when they are introduced to the play (Rival, 4). Antonio’s first quote in the play brings attention to his sadness: “In sooth I know not why I am so sad. It wearies me, you say it wearies you; But how I caught it, found it, or came by it, What stuff ‘tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to learn and such a want-wit sadness makes of me That I have much ado to know myself” (1.1.1-7). Portia mentions her fatigue of everything around her, at which point Bassanio is not around her: “By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world” (1.2.1-2). This shows that Bassanio means just as much to both, they are both sad because of Bassanio. Antonio is sad that he will lose Bassanio, while Portia is sad that she may not even get him if another man chooses the right casket before him. As Hyman says in “The Rival Lovers in...