In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, what figures of speech are used in act 1, scene 1? 

In act I, scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare uses figures of speech such as metaphor, personification, imagery, alliteration, polysyndeton, allusion, simile, and double entendre to create an image-saturated opening to his play.

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Antonio uses a metaphor, a comparison not using the words like or as, when he likens his sadness to an object or creature, stating,

how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born.

This shows he feels divorced from his sadness and cannot fully understand it.

Salerio responds with a metaphor when he compares Antonio's state of mind to a ship "tossing on the ocean." Salanio, another friend, then uses visual imagery, describing something we can see, along with alliteration, when he says,

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads.

We can imagine Antonio worrying about his ships, poring over maps (although, in fact, he is not worried about his ships). The alliterative repetition of the p sound at beginning of peering, ports, and piers brings added emphasis to those words. Salanio's statement above also uses polysyndeton, which is when a series of conjunctions are repeated. Normally, a person would say "ports, piers, and roads," but Salanio adds an extra "and,"...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1086 words.)

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