Individual Oral Commentary – Merchant of Venice
Act Scene 1 – Lines 8-45
This extract is from the play “ The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare and is placed in Act 1 Scene 1 of the play which can also be called the expository scene of the play. Right before the extract we as readers have been introduced to the confused character of Antonio, a rich Jewish merchant by the author who doesn’t even know the source of his extreme sadness and depression. Through the extract from lines 8-45 the author has tried to expose the intricate character of Antonio and has tried to set a melancholic mood at the opening of his play . Then the characters of Solario and Solanio reveal a lot about Venice and Elizabethan era, which is the place and time the play was set in. Venice was known in the Elizabethan era as centre of trade and business serving as a financial hub for business transactions worldwide. The author other than exposing character also introduces the beginnings of the actions which will slowly unfold as the play progresses. Various themes such as financial gain and loss, money as a problem and the overwhelming presence of life have been depicted in this extract by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has used flamboyant, ornamental language which is filled with images and comparisons and all of them are woven together around the possibility of Antonio’s character losing his fortune. The language of the entire extract as a whole expresses opulence of money and wealth.
In the first line of the extract itself Shakespeare uses Nature Imagery in the form of Solaria’s dialogue when he says “ Your mind is tossing on the sea” this line creates a vivid image of the mind as a ship tossing on the ocean. This first line itself exposes one of the major themes of the play which is money as a problem, thus satisfying the authorial aim. This is followed by the use of extensive commercial imagery through words such as argosies which means merchant ships, signors which means...