How would you critically analyze The Merchant of Venice in act 1, scene 1?

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The phrasing of this question makes the answer subjective. There isn't only one way to correctly analyze a particular piece of literature, so you could go a variety of directions with your analysis. One thing to not do is to write a summary. Writing a summary of the act and scene is not the same thing as analyzing it.

One direction to go might be to analyze the themes that are present in this opening scene of the play. Despite being the very first scene, Shakespeare does a nice job of alerting audiences to some themes that are going to run deeply throughout the entire piece. There is a theme of money, wealth, and materialism present with Antonio's happiness being possibly affected by his shipping venture. Bassanio helps to confirm the thematic importance of money by needing it in order to woo a beautiful and rich woman. Friendship is thematically important within this opening scene as well as possible themes of love and lust.

You could analyze the characters . I enjoy getting students to dig...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 773 words.)

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