The Merchant of Venice
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Antonio Timeline and Summary
- 1.1: Antonio is totally bummed out, but he says he doesn't know why.
- 1.1: He says he's not worried about his fortune, since he's hedged his bets and diversified.
- 1.1: Antonio says simply: "Fie, fie!" to the possibility that he might be in love. "Fie" is an exclamation that expresses mild annoyance, or also a humorous pretense of being shocked, so maybe Antonio isn't really denying that he's in love after all.
- 1.1: Antonio says he sees the world as a stage, where every man must play his role. He has resigned himself to believing that his role is a sad one.
- 1.1: After Graziano's long speech about how life is and should be, he leaves. Antonio is left to scoff, "It is that – anything now!" Essentially, this means the world is what one says it is. (That is, he's a relativist.)
- 1.1: Antonio asks Bassanio who exactly the lady was that he just saw secretly. He says Bassanio promised to tell him her identity today.
- 1.1: Hearing that Bassanio might need some money, Antonio immediately offers to do whatever he can to help, whether with his money, his character, or some extreme means.
- 1.1: Antonio tells Bassanio to stop all the justifying and explaining of what he needs – this is a dishonor to their friendship and Antonio's love of Bassanio. (He said that, not us.) Antonio reiterates that he'll do whatever Bassanio wants him to.
- 1.1: Antonio says all his money is tied up at sea. Since he can't just give Bassanio the dough to woo Portia with, he suggests that Bassanio try to raise whatever money he can on his (Antonio's) credit, which he's willing to stretch to the limit. He sends Bassanio on this task and tells him not to even think about the money.
- 1.3: Antonio says he usually wouldn't borrow money on interest, but he's willing to step away from his principles for Bassanio. They'll need 3,000 ducats from Shylock.
- 1.3: Antonio is sharply skeptical of Shylock's biblical tale of Jacob and Uncle Laban's lamb. He says the story doesn't illustrate that thrift is good, but only that the hand of heaven is all-powerful and can make things turn out one way or another as it pleases. Antonio suggests that Shylock is just fishing around for any story that can make interest seem like a good thing.
- 1.3: Antonio tells Bassanio to take note: the devil can cite anything from Scripture if it suits his purposes. Antonio suggests that Shylock is an evil soul who tries to provide holy evidence for his wicked ways.
- 1.3: Shylock has just pointed out that it's a bit ridiculous that Antonio spits on him, literally, every chance he gets, and now has come to ask him for some money. Antonio doesn't deny that he treats Shylock poorly. In fact, he says he'll very likely scorn and spit at Shylock again. He reminds the merchant that this is a business venture, not a friendship. Antonio says that if he breaks the deal with Shylock, Shylock can have the penalty from Antonio without any shame, which would not be the case if they were friends.
- 1.3: Antonio says he's content to seal the bond with Shylock that promises away a pound of his own flesh should he not repay the sum. He even goes so far as to say it shows Shylock's kindness.
- 1.3: Antonio soothes Bassanio, who is wary of Antonio taking on such a bond. Antonio is certain – cocky even – that he'll be able to pay the money back.
- 1.3: Antonio has accepted Shylock's offer of the bond. Once Shylock leaves, Antonio says he must be turning into a Christian, as there is no other way to explain the man's newfound kindness.
- 1.3: The scene ends with Antonio once again insisting that his ships will come in, and early, so there's nothing for his dear Bassanio to worry about.
- 2.6: Antonio throws some "fie" around at Graziano, whom he's been looking for, and tells him the wind is good for sailing. They've decided not to go to the masque festivities after all, but Bassanio's ship will sail tonight instead.
- 3.3: Antonio, faced with an angry Shylock and a jailer, makes a mild plea. "Hear me yet, good Shylock."
- 3.3: Antonio repeats his plea once more to Shylock in the same simple way before giving up entirely. He says he understands that Shylock wants his life, and Antonio thinks he knows why: he often came to the financial rescue of men who had been stuck in debt to Shylock.
- 3.3: Antonio is sure the Duke can't do anything to help him. He points out that foreign nationals (whom he calls "strangers") have a special status that gives them the right to trade in Venice. To deny any of those "strangers" would leave the state open to accusations that it wasn't upholding the law. He admits that trade and profit of the city is something non-citizens add to as well. Antonio adds that he's so stricken and reduced by his grief and losses that Shylock will be lucky if he can even find a pound of flesh on him. Finally, Antonio adds that as long as Bassanio comes to see him before he pays the debt (maybe with his life), nothing else really matters.
- 4.1: Antonio acknowledges that the Duke has tried to get him out of this mess, but to no avail. He notes that the law leaves him open to Shylock's will and malice. Antonio says he'll oppose Shylock's fury with patience, and he's willing to suffer Shylock's "tyranny and rage" with a quietness of spirit.
- 4.1: Antonio is wholly resigned to his fate. He says it's worthless to plead and question with Shylock, as nothing is harder than a Jewish heart. He says he'd like to hurry up and just get to the judgment and the penalty already.
- 4.1: When Bassanio says he'd rather offer himself up entirely than have one drop of Antonio's blood spilled on his account, Antonio responds with a martyr-like speech. He says he is the sickliest sheep of the flock, a wether, which literally means a castrated ram. As the weakest, he's the best suited for death. The weakest fruit drops to the ground first, so Bassanio would do better to live and write his epitaph.
- 4.1: Antonio admits to Portia that he is the defendant in the trial and that he indeed made the bond with Shylock. Antonio, like Shylock, urges everyone to get around to giving the judgment already, so he doesn't drown in his own tears.
- 4.1: Antonio bids Bassanio an emotional goodbye, claiming he's armed and prepared to meet death. He tells Bassanio not to be sad that it's come to this. Rather, he should remember it as a stroke of good luck that Antonio won't live to be poor. Antonio tells Bassanio he wants him to talk about him to Bassanio's wife, who will then judge Antonio's love for Bassanio. All Bassanio should be sorry for is that he's losing his friend, no more.
- 4.1: After Portia turns the tables and defeats Shylock under the law, Antonio says he's fine if the court wants to reduce its claims against half of Shylock's belongings to a simple fine. As for Antonio's half, he'd like it to be held in preservation for Lorenzo, Jessica's new husband, handed over once Shylock is dead. Antonio's last two commands are that Shylock become a Christian and that he record something in court assuring that his daughter is heir to all that he owns.
- 4.1: After the trial, Antonio tells Portia that he's indebted to her forever in love and service, still thinking she's Balthazar.
- 4.1: Antonio encourages Bassanio to give Balthazar Portia's ring. He says Balthazar is deserving and Antonio's own love should be valued above Portia's demands.
- 5.1: When the wives are ranting, Antonio laments that he's the cause of all the quarreling over the rings Bassanio and Graziano have given away. He wagers his soul that Bassanio will never break his faith with Portia. Portia then hands Antonio the ring in question, which Antonio passes on to Bassanio. He makes Bassanio swear to keep the ring.
- 5.1: Antonio is struck speechless by Portia's news that his ships have made it safely home. He tells her she has given him life (saved his life from Shylock) and living (he has an income again).