In my paper for the student symposium I will discuss the homosexuality of the character Antonio, in William Shakespeare’ s The Merchant of Venice. I focus on the character’ s homosexuality as a catalyst for three of the major events in the play. Within these three major events, I look at characters’ reactions to Antonio, as well as Antonio’ s reaction to himself. I address Antonio’ s own homophobia and eventual acceptance of himself as one of the main events in the play: Antonio’ s hatred of Shylock, Bassanio’ s pursuit of Portia, and the “ring scene.” In order to discuss these issues, I will look at specific monologues and scenes from the play, and analyze the different character reactions, both vocal and physical, as well as the evolution of the story. From this analysis I have reached the conclusion that Antonio is a homophobic homosexual whose own self-hatred and eventual self-acceptance provides the motivation for the actions in the play.
Melissa Bruce, ’08 Lees Summit, MO
Sponsor: Kirilka Stavreva