In a Shakespearean play,it has two functions, that is to start the action n to disclose d information required to understand it. we are introduced to Antonio n bassanio n their close friendship is revealed to us. bassanio has com to Antonio to borrow money to win over d rich lady of Belmont, Portia. Antonio confesses that he has no ready cash n he must borrow money. in this way Shakespeare prepares us for the plots of d play-the casket story n bond story which involves the loan from Shylock. the action begins when Antonio n bassanio set off to raise a loan. the commercial city of Venice with its sea,ships, wealth, merchants, credit is introduced with reality showing Shakespeare's perfect knowledge of the place. the keynote of d play and of Antonio's character, his sadness is introduced in this scene. various reasons are given for his sadness. he has a premonition of evil, of his coming trouble from Shylock. this feeling of sadness extends upto IV act . this is arouses the curiosity and interest of the audience .secondly, Antonio is a bachelor and is quite lonely .since bassanio, his beloved friend, was interested in Portia,he is sad because he knows he is going to lose him. another reason for his sadness ,is that he said by nature and has a melancholic personality.