"Bassanio and Portia," c.1826 by Richard Parkes Bonington
"Madam, you have bereft me of all words. / Only my blood speaks to you in my veins, / and there is such confusion in my powers / as, after some oration fairly spoke / by a beloved prince, there doth appear / among the buzzing pleased multitude, / where every something being blent together / turns to a wild of nothing save of joy / expressed and not expressed." (III.ii.175-183)
assanio. What can we say about him? He's really your basic good guy who's always there for his buddy, and who gets the girl. But wait, there must be more. He borrows money from Antonio to get close to Portia, and this might show Bassanio to be kind of a user. But his later good deeds, like rushing to Venice to help Antonio in the trial, tell us that he is a good man who was perhaps a bit blinded by the love and money he would get from a union with Portia. And we can't help but like a guy who guesses the right casket, solving the riddle with these wise words:
|"So may the outward shows be least themselves; / the world is still deceived with ornament. / ...There is no vice so simple but assumes / some mark of virtue on his outward parts. / ...Look on beauty, / and you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight, / which therein works a miracle in nature, / making them lightest that wear most of it" (III.ii.73-91).|
- In other words, Bassanio is smart enough to know you can't judge a book...well, you know the rest.
(Basil Gill as Bassanio and Alexandra Carlisle as Portia)
Let's see, what else does Bassanio do? Oh, the ring thing. He stupidly gives the ring Portia gave him to the young lawyer Balthasar (who is really, as we know, Portia in disguise). But to be fair, this is only after much persuasion by Balthasar/Portia, whom he resists, and a word from Antonio, whom he listens to and obeys because of their deep friendship (which is sometimes a bit too deep, if you ask us!). So we can hardly blame him - he tries his best to do the right thing. He's really basically a goody-two-shoes. This is even more apparent when he is around his friend Gratiano, who is a perfect sarcastic foil for Bassanio's sweetness.
That's about it! Now you can check out Bassanio's Links or just go:
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Portia / Shylock / Antonio / Gratiano & Nerissa / Lorenzo & Jessica / Salerio & Solanio / The Gobbos / The Princes / The Duke / The Servants