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'The Merchant of Venice' is one of the greatest works of William Shakespeare. The story portrays the friendship between Antonio and bassanio, the cruelty and jealousy of Shylock and the wit and cleverness of Portia. The lucid style of William Shakespeare is clearly evident in this story. 
In act 1, scene 1, Antonio is a bit glum. Antonio is a Venetian merchant. He is seen complaining to two of his friends, Salarino and Solanio. He says that sadness has overtaken him and dulled his faculties but he was so sad that he couldn't explain why.Salarino and Solanio remark that antonio's sadness must be due to his commercial investments, because Antonio had dispatched several trade ships to various ports. Salarino says it is impossible for Antonio not to feel sad at the thought of the perilous ocean sinking his entire investment, yet Antonio assures his friends that his business ventures do not depend on the safe passage of any one ship. Solanio then declares that Antonio must be in love, but Antonio dismisses the suggestion.
in this juncture, bassanio enters tech scene with Lorenzo and gratiano while Solanio and Salario depart. They noticed the sad look on Antonio's face and gratiano commented that the reason for Antonio's unhappiness is that he worries too much about his business, Antonio broods that he is a character who is always destined to play the sad part. 
Gratiano warns Antonio against becoming the type of man who affects a solemn demeanor in order to gain a wise reputation, then he takes his leave with Lorenzo. Bassanio jokes that Gratiano has terribly little to say, claiming that his friend’s wise remarks prove as elusive as “two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff. Bassanio consoles Antonio and Antonio asks bassanio about his clandestine love for Portia after Lorenzo and gratiano depart, he replies that he already owes Antonio a lot. Antonio replies that he cannot help bassanio now because his shops are held up in the sea but he promises that he will help whenever he can.
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The first task confronting any playwright in his opening scene is his "exposition" of that play — that is, he must identify the characters and explain their situation to the audience. Shakespeare accomplishes this task of informative exposition very subtly in the opening fifty-six lines of dialogue between Antonio, Salarino, and Salanio. We learn that Antonio is a wealthy merchant; that he is worried for some obscure reason which makes him melancholy; that he is a member of a group of friends who arrive later — Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano — who represent the lively, convivial life of Venice. And perhaps most important for the purposes of the plot, we are told that Antonio has many shipping "ventures" — mercantile risks — and although he is not worried about them now, the idea is subtly suggested to us that his business ventures on the high seas may miscarry. We should recall this matter when Antonio finally decides to indebt himself to Shylock on Bassanio's behalf.
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