Antonios Depression

Antonios Depression - Tim Hittmeier February 13, 2008 ENLT...

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Tim Hittmeier February 13, 2008 ENLT 320 Browning Antonio’s Depression In the Merchant of Venice, we see a play that was meant to be a comedy at the time it was written. However, we also see a tale of money (greed and generosity), love (heterosexual and homosexual), and emotion (joy and sadness). Antonio, one of the main characters in the play is also one of the most intriguing. While reading the play I kept going back to that first question that I developed: why is Antonio sad. My answer came back as a couple of different reasons; he feels dissatisfied with life and the material thoughts and motivations that the world revolves around. He is also having doubts about his own spirituality. Another reason is his unreturned love that he gives to Bassanio. The play revolves around Bassanio's love for Portia. Bassanio needs money to play the suitor to Portia in "style". His friend who loves him, Antonio, agrees to give him the money, but, because all of his money is invested in his merchant ships he must take a loan from the greedy Jew Shylock. Shylock loans him the money in exchange for a pound of his flesh if he does not pay the loan back on time. Bassanio wins Portia's hand, but, before they are joined together, Portia will disguise herself in order to win the freedom of Antonio when his ships meet with ruin and he cannot repay Shylock. Shylock ends up losing half his wealth and must convert before Portia is through with him. Antonio is a fascinating character study when it comes to psychology because he is such
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a sad but noble character. He is world-weary and life's material things do not bring him joy. He is also confused about his sadness. As he says in the opening speech of the play, "In sooth, I know not why I an 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) Antonio explains he has scattered his investment risks quite adequately, so it is not his "merchandize" that makes him sad. Yet, he does admit that he feels it is his nature to be sad, as if he has a chemical imbalance that classifies him as clinically depressed, "I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano-/A stage, where every man must play a part,/And mine a sad one" (1.1.77-79). However, if we explore the play more closely, we see that there are some valid external reasons that may be adding to Antonio's imbalance of humors. One of these is that he is suffering from the existential dilemma to
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Antonios Depression - Tim Hittmeier February 13, 2008 ENLT...

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