Functions Of Act 1


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Functions Of Act 1

  1. 1. THE OPENING ACT OF MOV Understanding its significance
  2. 2. Questions to think about.. <ul><li>How does Act One serve as an effective opening to the play? </li></ul>
  3. 3. S1: Main characters <ul><li>Antonio </li></ul><ul><li>Sad, worried, melancholy </li></ul><ul><li>“ In sooth I know not why I am so sad” </li></ul><ul><li>Salerio, Solanio </li></ul><ul><li>Happy (represent lively, convivial life of Venice) </li></ul><ul><li>Read the conversation between Antonio and Salerio and Solanio! </li></ul><ul><li>They prophecise about Antonio’s ships meeting disaster, expressing genuine concern but in a very tactless way </li></ul><ul><li>Minor characters: help to shape the plot, provide audience with details of the situation </li></ul>
  4. 4. S1 : Main characters <ul><li>Bassanio </li></ul><ul><li>appears to be pretty well-liked </li></ul><ul><li>surrounded by friends </li></ul><ul><li>tactless spendthrift as he enjoys merry-making without knowledge of the heavy cost </li></ul><ul><li>Lorenzo </li></ul><ul><li>Gratiano </li></ul><ul><li>Ebullient, talkative </li></ul>
  5. 5. S1: Important relationships <ul><li>Antonio & Salerio and Solanio not close </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio not opening up to them, not sharing his worries </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio & Bassanio share a much closer relationship/friendship </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio feeling more at ease, unafraid to talk about his feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Bassanio confiding in Anotnio, turning to him for help, and Antonio readily agreed to do whatever it takes </li></ul>
  6. 6. S1: Setting <ul><li>Venice </li></ul><ul><li>More harsh, sad mood </li></ul><ul><li>Business-related events happen </li></ul><ul><li>Male-dominated </li></ul><ul><li>Money and greed - Money-lending, merchants, usury </li></ul>
  7. 7. S1: Key Elements of Plot <ul><li>Introduction of main characters </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio as a wealthy merchant, worried for some obscure reason, and that he is a member of a group of friends who arrive later (Bassanio, Lorenzo, Gratiano - who represent the lively life in Venice) </li></ul><ul><li>Bassanio and his courtship of Portia (which is the major romantic plot) </li></ul>
  8. 8. S1: Key Elements of Plot <ul><li>Through the presentation of sober, withdrawn Antonio, surrounded by the frolicesome language of Salerio and Solanio, Shakerspeare suggests two elements of the play: </li></ul><ul><li>The real dangers that the merchant of Venice will face </li></ul><ul><li>The world of youth and laughter (which will be the background to the love stories in MOV) </li></ul>
  9. 9. S1: Themes <ul><li>Friendship and Love </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio’s friendship for Bassanio is noble, self-sacrificing, generous and brave </li></ul><ul><li>Lines 135-139 “I pray you, good Bassanio..” </li></ul><ul><li>Lines 177-185 </li></ul><ul><li>Imagery of commerce - “love” is spoken of in commercial and contractual terms by characters like Portia and Bassanio </li></ul><ul><li>But such imagery was common in Shakespeare’s time and should not be criticised </li></ul>
  10. 10. S2: Main Characters <ul><li>Portia </li></ul><ul><li>A woman of powerful character and wit, perceptive about the people around her, quite able to hold her own in verbal combat with anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Very important quality, given her subsequent importance in the development of the plot </li></ul><ul><li>Nerissa </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent </li></ul><ul><li>Down-to-earth </li></ul><ul><li>A confidante of Portia </li></ul>
  11. 11. S2: Main Characters <ul><ul><ul><li>Portia laments, “ By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world. ” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This is similar to Antonio’s earlier lament of “ In sooth I know not why I am so sad, it wearies me, you say it wearies you. ” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Both are weary but express it in different ways as well as mean it differently </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Antonio is weary although he does not know why , Portia is weary and she does know why : she must marry the one who gets the casket test correct irregardless of his personality </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. S2: Important Relationships <ul><li>Relationship between Portia and Nerissa? </li></ul><ul><li>Confides in each other? Very open with each other? </li></ul>
  13. 13. S2: Setting <ul><li>Belmont </li></ul><ul><li>Language in Scene 2 is in prose form - emphacise transition into different world, one with a brighter, livelier approach to life </li></ul><ul><li>Belmont contrasts with Venice, as later scenes prove that the serenity and love in Belmont can hardly be compared to the dangerous and scheming thoughts in Venice </li></ul>
  14. 14. S2: Key Elements of Plot <ul><li>Outlines the device of the casket, which will provide the dramatic basis for the scenes in which the various suitors choose the choice of the proper casket for Portia’s hand in marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces Portia </li></ul><ul><li>- Hints at her brilliance, which she shows much later, especially when she outwits Shylock </li></ul>
  15. 15. S2: Themes <ul><li>Prejudice </li></ul><ul><li>- National Stereotypes (Lines 38 onwards) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neapolitan Prince </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Talks of his horse non-stop </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Young and foolish without grace (like a colt) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Speaks only of his positive traits </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Count Palatine </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frowns (the “weeping philosopher”/does not smile when “he hears merry tales”) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unmannerly </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monseiur Le Bon (France) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Terribly active – tiresome excess of energy due to his “a-capering” (notice Portia is actually mocking every suitor despite saying “it is a sin to be a mocker”) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. S2: Themes <ul><ul><ul><li>Falconbridge (England) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They do not understand each other (language barrier) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Handsome </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unable to speak properly (like that of a picture) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scottish lord </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Notice the scene of the fact that the Scot owes the Englishman a box on the ear (a bond) and he has the Frenchman as a guarantor …compare that to how Bassanio wants to borrow the money from Shylock and Antonio stands as his guarantor </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Violent (?) “swore to pay him again when he was able” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duke of Saxony’s nephew (Germany) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A drunkard thus violent </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vile nature </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bassanio </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Portia clearly remembers him worthy of her praise but she is not clear of his name </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. S3: Main Characters <ul><li>Shylock </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish money-lender </li></ul><ul><li>Merciless </li></ul><ul><li>Revengeful </li></ul>
  18. 18. S3: Important Relationships <ul><li>Hatred between Antonio and Shylock? </li></ul>
  19. 19. S3: Setting <ul><li>Venice </li></ul><ul><li>Mood changes from previous scene </li></ul><ul><li>Talk changes from witty conversations about men and courtship to the hard world of business, calculations and deceit </li></ul>
  20. 20. S3: Key Elements of Plot <ul><li>Completes the exposition of one of the major plot lines - when Antonio agrees to Shylock’s bond (3000 ducats for a pound of flesh) </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces the inciting force </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces Shylock (the most dramatic figure in the play) </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces major themes - prejudice </li></ul>
  21. 21. S3: Themes <ul><li>Prejudice </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-semitism: </li></ul><ul><li>> Shylock’s “I hate him for He is a Christian” speech (Lines 37-47) </li></ul><ul><li>> How Antonio treated Shylock (Lines 102-109, Line 123) </li></ul><ul><li>> Antonio’s reaction (Lines 125-126) </li></ul><ul><li>> Shylock’s merciless agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Moral of the story: Prejudice breeds prejudice </li></ul>