Antonio is the title character in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. An influential, powerful and wealthy nobleman of Venice, he is a middle-aged man and a merchant by trade who has his financial interests tied up in overseas shipments when the play begins. He is kind, generous, honest and confident, and is loved and revered by all the Christians who know him, but not by the Jew Shylock. His willingness to die for Bassanio is a manifestation of his character. Antonio manifests anti-semitism by cursing and spitting at Shylock (anti-semitism was common in Europe in Shakespeare's days). He is a structural centre of the play and whole play revolves around him.