Relationships Between Men in Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice | Elliot Weeks - webob.info
After Sebastian leaves to go to Orsino's court, Antonio ponders the situation: he The relationship between Antonio and Sebastian, meanwhile, though it is a. Photograph of Michael Brown as Viola/Cesario and Rhys Meredith as Sebastian in Shakespeare's Globe production of Twelfth Night, However, closer examination of the relationships between Orsino and Cesario, Sir Andrew and Sir Toby, and Antonio and Sebastian display how Shakespeare.
Antonio, insulted, infuriated, and believing Sebastian will not return money he had given him, gives full voice not only to his love for the youth, but also his disappointment, with particular emphasis on his beauty: This youth that you see here I snatched one half out of the jaws of death, Relieved him with such sanctity of love, And to his image, which methought did promise Most venerable worth, did I devotion.
But, O, how vile an idol proves this god!
Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame. Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil [.
Antonio, at the very least, gives credence to the anti-theatricalists fears. Later in the play Antonio uses words seemingly borrowed from an anti-theatrical tract to explain his presence in Illyria: Pequigney historically contextualizes the attraction of men to boys: While these codifications did not exist at the time of the play they give us another course of analyzing the texts to uncover themes overlooked or invisible in the past.
My stars shine darkly over me. The malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours. Therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone. I would not by my will have troubled you, But since you make your pleasure of your pains, I no further chide you… My kind Antonio, I can no other make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks… 3.
A short while later when Olivia asks again for the assurance of his willingness to marry her he again responds to placate her: In his contemplation of the quandary in which he has landed he thinks immediately of Antonio and is desirous of his assistance: I could not find him at the Elephant… His counsel now might do me golden service.
Neither the play nor most of its critics pause over this passage. While it has been well established there is no solid idea of individual sexualities in the Renaissance and much less sexual roles within those sexualities, it is possible to theorize not only that Sebastian and Antonio had a homosexual relationship but also, given the facts, that Antonio was the active participant and Sebastian the passive.
Twelfth Night: Queering of Sebastian | A Random Existence
Sebastian, as has been established, is not much of an active character. He does not do but is done to, except perhaps when he injures Sir Toby in self-defense.
Bassanio is off to seek a future with Portia, yet still he feels he must make haste in returning to his friend. The question of who is of more importance to Bassanio is raised here, and is one that reoccurs in the court scene. The parting image of the two is one of sincere affection and emotion: Solanio, rather belatedly it seems, voices the one thing that the audience has been considering since that first scene: This one-line confirmation summarises what Antonio has hitherto been unable to convey to Bassanio.
Both instances ultimately convey an idealised portrayal of relationships, not only in terms of the affection and emotion displayed but also in language. Speak me fair in death, And when the tale is told, bid her be judge Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
The audience cannot be sure of this, but equally, we cannot deny that the text allows for such a reading. In conjunction with this idea, is the issue of the value that Bassanio places on Antonio. It has been referred to in the instance of their parting, but it is not until the climactic courtroom scene, when emotions are at their peak, that Bassanio finally reveals the true meaning of his friendship, or perhaps love.
At the point when Antonio has been condemned to death, Bassanio declares: Antonio, I am married to a wife Which is as dear to me as life itself; But life itself, my wife, and all the world Are not with me esteemed above thy life. I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you. It confirms the suggestion that was implied at their parting: Furthermore, the religious semantic field of deliverance and sacrifice contribute to what is a highly emotive declaration of devotion.
The language of religion is also used in Twelfth Night at a moment of emotional intensity. Cambridge University Press,p.
At the same time, in his elevation of Sebastian to a deity, he is illustrating the physical and emotional hold that he has over him. Yet the key difference is that Antonio is again far more open and expressive about the terms he uses.
The two Antonios are somewhat strangers and out of place in the final resolution scenes of the plays. Both have endured life-threatening danger in order to reach their friends, yet neither one has any real position or place in the final resolution. His tone echoes the melancholy of the opening scene, yet he now seems more distant from his friend than before. The idealised portrayal of love which we have seen in previous exchanges between the two has now been diminished in the conclusion of the comedy.
Ultimately it must be the heterosexual relationship that prevails.
In support of this, the final scene of Twelfth Night, sees Antonio and Sebastian being reunited: O my dear Antonio, How have the hours racked and tortured me Since I lost thee! Renaissance essays in honour of C. Peter Eriksson and Coppelia Khan Newark: University of Delaware Press,p.
In the end, the idealistic image of homosexual relations has been outcast by the comedic conclusion of heterosexual pairings. The eroticism is still there, but even at the end of a physically exhausting voyage, both find themselves emotionally much further from the friends that they love. Perhaps in an ideal world — one in which Elizabethan taboo would not hinder the development of homosexual relations — Shakespeare would not be forced to leave his two melancholic characters at loose ends.
What we would regard today as homoerotic language is used prevalently, in a contemporary context, in conversation between male friends.
Again, the issue of context, in this instance culturally, is the dependent factor in determining the nature of the relationship. As it is, the distance between the erotic and the idealised changes throughout the play, and is entirely dependent on the context. Private situations allow, to a certain extent, an outpouring of emotion that public ones do not, particularly in terms of declarations of love.