Why does Antonio agree to Shylock’s terms for the loan?
When Shylock states the terms he proposes for the loan, Antonio immediately accepts without any questions and agrees to offer a pound of his flesh if he cannot pay the loan back. Bassanio is the one to hesitate, urging his friend not to accept these dangerous terms, but Antonio is confident that the terms of the loan are irrelevant because he will easily be able to repay it. As he explains, “I do expect return / Of thrice three times the value of this bond” (I.iii.157-158). Because Antonio has always been prosperous and enjoyed good returns on his investments, he is lured into a false sense of security and does not worry about the risks he assumes. His intense devotion to Bassanio also makes him willing to accept almost any risk in order to help his friend, whom Antonio has an almost romantic obsession with.
Why does Shylock demand Antonio’s flesh instead of money?
Bassanio offers large sums of money to Shylock in exchange for Shylock’s forfeit of the original conditions of his bond. Shylock refuses to accept this offer, and he also refuses to justify his decision. As Shylock explains, “You’ll ask me why I rather choose to have / A weight of carrion flesh than to receive / Three thousand ducats. I’ll not answer that / But say it is my humour” (IV.i.40-43). Shylock argues that he does not have to explain or justify his decision because he has the force of law on his side. However, some of his extreme insistence on Antonio’s flesh likely comes from his desire to have revenge against a member of the Christian community that he blames for discriminating against him and stealing his daughter. As he tells Salarino in Act III, Scene i, “If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.”
Who does Bassanio give Portia’s ring to?
Bassanio gives Portia’s ring to someone he believes is a lawyer named Balthazar, but who the audience knows is actually Portia herself in disguise as a man. Balthazar/Portia asks for the ring as a thank-you gift in exchange for having saved Antonio from Shylock, but Bassanio is initially reluctant because he promised Portia never to take the ring off. However, after Balthazar/Portia rebukes him and Antonio encourages him to give the ring away, Bassanio relents.
How does Bassanio win the right to marry Portia?
As her dead father’s will stipulates, Portia cannot decide for herself whether to take a husband, and her suitors must choose between three caskets in the hopes of selecting the one that contains her portrait. Bassanio wins the right to marry Portia because he solves the riddle and correctly chooses the right casket. While the other suitors have incorrectly chosen the gold or silver casket, Bassanio chooses the lead casket and finds a picture of Portia inside, signaling that he can claim her as his bride. Bassanio’s choice indicates that he is clever and not easily distracted by superficial charms. As the scroll inside the lead casket explains, “You that choose not by the view / Chance as fair and choose as true” (III.ii.135-136). Portia, who has already fallen in love with Bassanio, is delighted when he chooses correctly.
Why can’t Antonio pay back his loan?
After a series of accidents, all of Antonio’s ships are reported as wrecked. As Bassanio laments, “Have all his ventures failed? What, not one hit? . . . And not one vessel ’scape the dreadful touch / Of merchant-marring rocks?” (III.ii.274-279). Therefore, Antonio does not have the money to pay back Shylock and is in danger of having to pay the penalty of a pound of his own flesh. Antonio was initially confident that his investment was guaranteed, but he learns the hard way that nothing is ever certain. Thanks to Portia’s generosity, Antonio gains enough money to pay back the loan, but by then, Shylock is insistent on claiming the penalty that he is technically owed.