• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Merchant of Venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Two Settings of Belmont and Venice Seem Worlds Apart. Is This True? The city of Venice is introduced to the audience at the very beginning of the play. The opening scene begins in the middle of a conversation taking place between 3 successful venetians, walking through the streets of Venice. This immediately associates Venice with a sense of dynamism and action, as the audience is abruptly thrown into the world and surroundings of Venice. In contrast, Belmont is introduced to the audience through hearsay, a passing comment between characters; 'In Belmont, is a lady richly left'. The fact that Belmont is first learned about through characters who have little to do with it conveys an aura of celebrity around it and, in association, around its inhabitant, the character of Portia. The situation of Portia is consistent with the theme of celebrity and fantasy around Belmont. When broken down to its main aspects, the story of Portia mirrors that of many fairy tales. She is described as a beautiful and desirable woman, "she is fair, and - fairer than that word - of wondrous virtues", who lives in relative isolation, in a grand estate far from the setting of the rest of the play, where she waits for a suitable man to pass her father's test and win her love. ...read more.

Middle

The setting of Venice serves as a stark contrast from the world of Belmont. The fact that it is more urbanized compared to Belmont, which I get the feeling is more rural despite this not being covered in the play, signifies the main differences between the two settings. Everything is more money-orientated in Venice than it is in Belmont, as money is abundant in Belmont and therefore not an issue. This is shown when Portia learns of the bond between Antonio and Shylock; "What, no more? Pay him six thousand and deface the bond. Double six thousand and then treble that" This gives a portrayal of Belmont being more mature and sophisticated than Venice, almost as if the affairs of Venice seem less significant and almost petty when held in relation with the inhabitants of Belmont. This is shown in the trial scene, where Portia goes to Venice in disguise and, in effect single-handedly solves the issues and tensions built up by the main characters of the play,. There is a sense of Portia and Nerissa being the adults, lowering themselves in order to sort out the conflicts between the children - being Antonio, Bassanio and Shylock. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Antonio enters the Jewish Ghetto in order to borrow from Shylock, he is going to him reluctantly out of necessity. Shylock immediately comes up with his pound of flesh bond, and then disguises it as a joke in order to lure an unwitting Antonio into it. it is as if he is signing his soul away to the devil. "Mark you this, Bassanio, The Devil can cite scripture for his purpose" This seems more apparent when you consider the fact that Jews were often referred to as devils. At the end of the play, it is the only time Portia and Nerissa appear in Venice, when they go in disguise to Antonio's trial. It seems to me to signify angels descending from heaven (Belmont) in order to perform their judgement and thwart Shylock. This is consistent with the idea of Belmont being more sophisticated and important than Venice. In this way, Venice and Belmont do seem to be worlds apart because, in my opinion they represent the different worlds of heaven and Earth, which is why the audience never actually finds out where Belmont is in relation to Venice. Steve Hajiyianni Steve Hajiyianni ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. How does Shakespeare create tension in the trial scene of The Merchant of Venice?

    right or not and if it is only fair that Shylock should be given his bond as it is legal.

  2. To what extent does Shakespeare intend the audience to sympathize with Shylock in the ...

    The modern audience would sympathize more with Shylock, as they would be able to see past his religion, and fully understand his character. After the trial, Jessica and Lorenzo settle together in Belmont, the arrival of Portia and Nerissa is announced with music greeting them.

  1. Background to the "Merchant of Venice."

    and because of this Antonio is going to try and uphold the law. Go, one, call the Jew into the court. (Line 14) This is the first real sign of serious anti-Semitism that we see in this play. The duke doesn't call Shylock by his name, he simply labels him "Jew."

  2. The Merchant Of Venice

    The words "as I bid" show that Shylock is superior in the household. Jessica also wants to elope with Lorenzo as she is in love with him and because he is a Christian her father, Shylock would never approve of them together.

  1. The Merchant of Venice - how does the use of language style and structure ...

    Towards the end of the scene the audience will be confused as the accusations are going backwards and forwards, who will win this trial? Shylock is obviously gloating, as he knows he is winning. As Shylock is about to sink his knife into Antonio's Christian skin, the actors want the

  2. Merchant of Venice- Scene by Scene summary & analysis

    be disregarded is the way in which Portia carefully removes Antonio from the plot at the end. This will be seen later in the play, where she is the one to free him from the contract, and is later the person to inform him about his ships.

  1. How Does Shakespeare Influence Audience Opinion Of Shylock in 'The Merchant Of Venice'.

    despise Shylock is because of what he does with his money (lend it out for profit) but Antonio does the same thing with his trading, but in a different way. This irony is highlighted in Act Four, Scene One, by Portia "[Portia]Which is the merchant here?

  2. What are the main themes in "The Merchant of Venice"?

    and mine a sad one.? He feels his part is to play the role of a depressed character. We also learn at the start of the play when Antonio lends Bassanio the money, he breaks his own rules. He breaks his rules as Antonio disapproves morally of the lending of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work