The Merchant of Venice Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Act 1, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice, what is the importance of the ships and the setting of Venice? I want to know how these create impact and why Shakespeare used these techniques. Quote analysis would be helpful.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What's important about the setting of Venice and ships in the opening scene of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice is that they set up the characterization of the characters and the plot of the drama. 

Antonio's livelihood is trade.  This involves ships and the city of Venice, which is known for its trade and shipping.  His wealth is tied up in ships at sea.  His money is not liquid, as we would say today, he cannot get at it if he should need it.


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