You know me well, and herein spend but time
To wind about my love with circumstance.
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have.
Then do but say to me what I should do
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am pressed unto it. Therefore speak. (A I , s i)

After Bassanio shows concern about the money he owes Antonio, Antonio reassures Bassanio by describing how he views their friendship. Antonio passionately explains that Bassanio should not worry about this money because their friendship is stronger than any debts. Antonio adds that when Bassanio doubts their friendship’s strength, he creates more worry and pain than any financial strain can cause. Antonio and Bassanio’s relationship reflects the theme of friendship throughout the play. The two men clearly care very deeply for one another.

To you, Antonio, I owe the most in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe. (A I, s i)

Bassanio tells Antonio that he wants to find an honorable way to pay his financial debt back to Antonio. He uses this moment to recognize his friendship with Antonio, declaring that he not only owes him money, but also love. He also affirms that he knows that Antonio cares for him and will help him decide on the best way to pay off his debts. This interchange clearly displays a friendship with a strong bond.

I saw Bassanio and Antonio part.
Bassanio told him he would make some speed
Of his return. He answered, “Do not so.
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio
But stay the very riping of the time.
And for the Jew’s bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love.
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there.”
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible
He wrung Bassanio’s hand. And so they parted. (A II, s viii)

Salarino describes Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship to Solanio by explaining the scene of their goodbye as Bassanio left to win Portia’s heart. Salarino’s description indicates that Bassanio and Antonio share a very close bond. Their relationship seems to mirror that of a father and son as Antonio feels proud of Bassanio and will do anything to help him succeed in love and life, but he also finds saying goodbye bittersweet. This heartfelt moment between Bassanio and Antonio as described by Salarino further develops the theme of friendship in the play.