What is the importance of the opening scene of The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare?
Act 1, scene 1 of this play is critical in multiple ways. It serves as a way to introduce audiences to characters, relationships, future conflicts, and financial situations.
Right from the start, audiences are introduced to Antonio. He isn't in a good mood, and audiences soon discover that is because he has a lot of his money wrapped up in a financial gamble. He's worried, and says as much:
And every object that might make me fearMisfortune to my ventures out of doubtWould make me sad.
'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,How much I have disabled mine estate,By something showing a more swelling portThan my faint means would grant continuance.
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