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Belmont is totally different to Venice in some respects and ways, yet startlingly similar in others. Life in Belmont is at a slower, more relaxed pace than with life in Venice, where it is all hustle and bustle with the merchants. Belmont is also set back in the hills and countryside, which makes it a much more peaceful place to live simply because there is no noise from the markets and the Rialto in Venice. Venice is where all the merchants do their trading and selling, and Belmont is for the better off people, the aristocrats and the like, who prefer a more tranquil outlook on life, rather than rushing around with all the others.
It is very fitting that Portia lives in Belmont, rather than Venice, because she seems to be the type who would prefer the quietness of the countryside, this also reflects her mind also, the calm collected way she acts, compared with the hot – headedness of some of Venice`s merchants. The similarities between Belmont and Venice are quite startling in some instances, because people have differring views on the word beautiful – for example in a modern world, big business people find large cities beautiful, and walkers in the countryside find that beautiful – it depends on the angle you look at it.
Venice is a beautiful city in modern sense, so it must have been awesome in its heyday, back in Shakespeares time. Belmont is a different style of beautiful, peaceful, serene, idyllic, like a warm summers day it is like a small piece of heaven on earth. In Venice however, you get the racial demoralisation of the Jews and the feeling that they are second – class citizens, in Belmont however, there is no demoralisation of the jews, which proves that the two places are a world apart yet so close together.
The main characters in each of these places helps us to understand the settings more easily. Antonio in Venice likes to be in all the hustle and bustle of things, right in the centre of everything, making the most of his wealth and his trading expertise to further his business, and to help his friends. Portia in Belmont on the other hand, seems happier keeping out of the hustle and bustle of Venice, keeping to the quietness of her house and the grounds surrounding it. I think this is better suited to her persona.
Underlying each of the settings however, there is a sense of wearyness. When Portia says to Nerissa “By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world ” she seems to be longing for a change to her usual life. She may be hinting that she wants to leave Belmont and go to Venice for a while, just to change the monotony of her life, welcoming suitors to her home, then despatching them at almost the same instant. This is almost the same as Antonio`s opening speech ” In sooth, I know not why I am so sad : It wearies me; you say it wearies you; “