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Setting Analysis on "The Merchant of Venice

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Audrey Le

on 20 February 2015

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Transcript of Setting Analysis on "The Merchant of Venice

Setting Analysis on "The Merchant of Venice" by William shakespeare
By: Audrey Le
The Elements of Setting
Setting: The time, place, customs, and culture of the story
It affects events in the plot, provides conflict, and reveals character.
Setting also creates the mood and reflects tones in a work of literature.
Venice, Italy is the main setting of the play
Time is important because it adds to the plot and conflict of the story.
The time of the play takes place during the Renaissance period of Europe (1500-1600s).
Jews were discriminated and experienced cruel treatment for their "usury" from Christians. The only way for them to make money and stay in the country was to be moneylenders, however they were not allowed to mingle with society. The main conflict in the play is because of anti-semitic reasons. Without this important factor of the story, there would not be any conflict between Shylock and Antonio.
For example, "Her fair hair is the Golden Fleece that attracts many Jasons to the Belmont shore" (1.1. 169-170).
An example of the loan is, "Three thousands ducats! That's a good round sum. Three months out of twelve. Let me see the rate..." (1.3. 101-102).
Evidence of Shylock's punishments in the courtroom is, "One: in return for this clemency, he shall become a Christian immediately. Two: that he makes a will here in court, leaving all he possesses at his death to his son-in-law Lorenzo and his daughter" (4.1. 383-386).
"You call me an infidel, a cutthroat dog, and you spit on my Jewish garments" (1.3. 109-110).
"Gratiano talks more rubbish than any other man in Venice. The sense in what he says is like two grains of wheat hidden in a bushel of chaff" (1.1. 114-116).
Belmont, Italy where Portia lived
The events of the story takes place mostly in Venice and Belmont, Italy.
Shylock's house is where Antonio makes his contract to take out a loan for Bassanio.
Portia's house in Belmont is important because she meets Bassanio and they end up marrying.
The courtroom is where Portia saves Antonio from his bond by outsmarting Shylock. This is where Shylock also receives his punishments and is forced to convert to Christianity.
Some customs during this time period was the use of caskets. The gold, silver, and lead caskets were used as a test for Portia when she was meeting her suitors.
During the Renaissance, women were not allowed to play the female roles, so young boys played the parts of the women. Shakespeare included cross-dressing in his plays because the audience would have detected the irony.
Once again, Jews were discriminated against during the Renaissance time period. They had to wear strips of yellow and were not allowed to speak to non-Jews in society. This also still exists today in parts of the world.
The use of caskets: "The first, of gold, bears this inscription: "Who chooses me shall gain what many men desire." The second, of silver, carries this promise: "Who chooses me shall get as much as he deserves." The third, made of dull lead, has a warning just as blunt: "Who chooses me must give and gamble all he has" (2.6. 4-9).
An example of Portia and Nerissa cross-dressing would be, "They will Nerissa, but they'll think by our dress that we are male" (3.4. 60-63)
Shylock's discrimination is shown in Act One. For instance, "Note this, Bassanio. When it suits his purpose, the Devil can quote the Scriptures. An evil man who quotes the Bible is like a villain with a smiling face..."(1.3. 95-99).
More Customs and Culture:
In the Elizabethan Era, women thought pale skin was beautiful, so they used pale white makeup.
The wives of wealthy nobles wore large dresses with detailed embroidery and fancy jewelry.
Nobles of money also had to dress like they lived in luxury because it was a must. Society saw that the wealthy did not live in modesty.
Men dressed in fancy clothes too.
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