Jiffynotes index page

\\ home \ Merchant of Venice, The:
Scene 1.1

Scene 1.1 - Venice

Antonio, a wealthy merchant, complains to his friends, Salerio and Solanio, that he is sad and does not know why. Salerio suggests that his mind is with his ships, at sea. Solanio agrees: Antonio's fortune depends on the safe return of his ships, and his sadness is caused by worrying about them. Thinking of himself in Antonio's situation, Salerio imagines he would think of shipwrecks wherever he went. But Antonio claims that he could financially survive the loss of his ships - that is not what worries him. Solanio guesses that he is in love, but Antonio quickly denies it. Other friends of Antonio - Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Graziano - then enter, and Solanio and Salerio depart, apologizing that they couldn't make Antonio happier. Graziano notes that Antonio is not well, and Antonio explains that the world is a stage where men are actors, and his part is a sad one. If that's the case, Graziano replies, he'll play the fool - for the true fools are men who are always silent and serious, pretending to be wise. Graziano leaves with Lorenzo.
Antonio and Bassanio, now alone, turn to a new topic. Antonio asks Bassanio how his pursuit of a certain lady is going; Bassanio replies that he is too far in debt to spend enough to impress her. Antonio tells him that he is willing to help in whatever way he possibly can. Already in debt to Antonio, Bassanio cautions that to lend him money would be like to shoot an arrow where one has lost one before. Nothing would offend him more, Antonio suggests, than if Bassanio underestimated his generosity. So Bassanio explains that the woman's name is Portia, she lives in Belmont, and has many wealthy suitors. While he will have no money until his ships return, Antonio permits Bassanio to use his credit in Venice to raise as much money as he needs.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scene 1.1
Scenes 1.2 and 1.3
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scenes 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9
Scenes 3.1 and 3.2
Scenes 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5
Scenes 4.1 and 4.2
Scene 5.1


Copyright © 1999 - Jiffynotes.com. All Rights Reserved.
To cite information from this page, please cite the date when you
looked at our site and the author as Jiffynotes.com.
Privacy Statement