In "The Merchant of Venice," the scenes switch back and forth between Venice and Belmont. What does Venice represent in this play? What about Belmont?
Also does each location suggest a kind of ethos (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethos)? Does each have its own kinds of conversations, arguments or speeches? At the center of Venice is the Rialto and the market. At the center of Belmont is Portia and the caskets.
Venice is the center of trade and more importantly the seat of the money lenders. Money lenders during the Elizabethan period were usually Jews and Venice has a large Jewish community. It is the center of commerce.
Belmont is Portia's home and becomes the center of the love story. It is the place where the heart of Portia lives and so it is the city of romance.