Merchant Of Venice Setting Analysis

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In many of Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare uses multiple settings to contrast opposing ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare uses the settings of Venice and Belmont to represent opposing ideas. The city of Venice is an international marketplace. Venice is diverse and full of people from many countries who practice their own religions. Venice is marked by its cultural melting pot and friction, along with its focus on business and greed. In contrast, Belmont is a city in which people flee to in order to get away from the realities of commerce. The city of Belmont is marked by harmony and peace. Many of the characters in the story leave the avaricious city of Venice in order to reside in the…show more content…
Throughout the story, Venice is the backdrop for cultural and religious friction. Here, many arguments and disputes take place. The play begins with a mention of Antonio’s investments at sea, and inability to loan his friend money. Antonio tells his friend that he is depressed because he can’t lend another friend, Bassanio, money. Bassanio says, “Tis not unknown to you, Antonio, How much I have disabled mine estate, By something showing a more swelling port Than my faint means would grant continuance: Nor do I now make moan to be abridged from such a noble rate; but my chief care Is to come fairly off from the great debts where in my time something too prodigal hath left me gaged.” Bassanio says that his great debts in Venice abridge him from a noble rate, and that is prodigal hath has left him gaged. Here, Bassanio mentions his serious debt and that wealth or lack of it is an important role in Venice’s society. The religious conflict in Venice can be seen where Shylock, a Jewish money-lender is approached by Antonio, a Christian, to obtain a loan. Shylock agrees to give the loan, on condition that if it can’t be paid back, Antonio gives Shylock a pound of flesh. Antonio and Shylock have deep-rooted hatred for each other because of their religions. This hatred is spurred over the greedy interest loan Shylock has offered. Shylock says, You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, […] 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last, You spurn 'd me such a day; another time You call 'd me dog; and for these courtesies I 'll lend you thus much moneys
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