1. There are many ways in which Richard Paul Roe gives insight to our understanding of Shakespeare’s Italy in The Merchant of Venice. First he talks about the ships that the merchant, Antonio, uses are foreign, not Italian ships. Roe say she uses Illyrian Argosies but he also uses English Andrews, ships that flew the Andrea Doria flag. He also talks about the Ponte di Rialto and how Shakespeare’s reference to it was accurate because this was where major business men performed business transaction and deals and major contracts were created on this bridge. He explains that this bridge was the hub and center of the business world of Venice. He also explains that Shakespeare’s alluding to but not specifically naming of the Ghetto in the play was accurate because there was a small neighborhood in the middle of Venice where all of the Jews were housed together, called the Ghetto, which still exists today. Another thing he talks about is Shakespeare’s reference to the “Indies” and to “Tripolis”. He explains that when Shakespeare’s character makes this reference to the “Indies” could have meant two different places, but this was later cleared up when later the language used to refer to them was changed to “East Indies” and “West Indies”. He says that Shakespeare was probably referring to the “East Indies”. He says also that when he makes reference to “Tropolis” it could have meant either a city on the Levantine coast or it could mean a city on the coast of North Africa, but there has be no clarification of the meaning in the instance of its use in The Merchant of Venice, so there may still be some confusion for the readers of the play.
2. Francesco’s documentary help’s to construct the Italy and Venice in The Merchant of Venice in many different ways. He talks about how not a whole lot of authors who lived in England wrote about London or England because it wasn’t romantic and everyone knew everything there was to know about it. He explained and showed that Shakespeare wrote about Italy because at that time it was a far away place and not a lot of people could travel there, so it was a very unknown place that seemed magical and mysterious, which made it seem more romantic. He talked about how Shakespeare taught people how to love, taught people all about what love truly was. He asked a few people on the streets if Shakespeare really was from Italy and most of them either said he was, he should have been, or it felt like he was because he knew so much about the country that it seemed like he had either traveled there or he lived there. He also explained how the masked ball/banquet in Romeo and Juliet would have been a regular and normal occurrence for the upper classes, things similar happened all the time. He explained that things like this were often hosted by wealthy families to find suitors and marriage partners for their children. He visited his professor friend who showed him some things from Shakespeare’s time, he showed some Venetian lace, ladies fans and a traditional party mask. The lace was a very simple pattern showing the simplicity of life that the Venetians wanted. The professor showed how when ladies held fans in different ways they can send messages to people about whether they are interest as a prospective marriage partner or not. The mask that was shown would make someone completely unrecognizable to others even up close.