Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary and Question Answers

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Act 2 Scene 1 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary ICSE Class 10 notes provided below designed as per the Merchant of Venice book used in ICSE Class 10 English Books. You should refer to all notes provided here for Merchant of Venice Workbook which are really important and can help you to get better marks in ICSE Exams

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 1 Summary

It is a short scene, keeping track of the situation in Belmont, Antonio’s ill placed confidence in the future in the closing lines of Act 1 Scene 3 is the prologue to more uncertain, ill placed confidences of Prince Morocco who has come to try his fortune and to participate in the lottery of caskets with the wish to succeed in marrying the beautiful Portia whose fame is spread all over the world.

Prince of Morocco is another alien in the play but one of quite different order from Shylock. He is dignified, noble and valiant, while being too self-regarding. He talks to Portia about his own worth, status and exploits.


Hercules: In Greek mythology, Hercules was the bravest and strongest hero. Lichas was his servant. According to the legend, Hercules and Lichas were playing a game of dice. By chance, the winning throw came from the hand of the weaker man, that is, Lichas and Hercules was defeated in the game of dice. Similarly, Morocco fears that fate might favour someone less worthy than himself.


1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follows:

    By this scimitar,
    That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
    That won three fields of sultan Solyman,
    I would outstare the sternest eye that look
    Outbrave the heart most daring on earth,

    Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she bears, Yea, mock the lion when he roars
    for prey, to win thee lady, but else the while! If Hercules and Lichas play at dice,
    which is the better man; the greater throw. May turn by fortune from the weaker hand,
    so is Alcide beaten by his page; And so, may I; blind Fortune leading me Miss that
    which one unworthier may attain, and die with grieving

Ques. What is meant by a scimitar? What conquests did he make by using his scimitar?
Ans. A ‘Scimitar is a short-curved sword.
He killed Sophy who was the emperor (Shah) of Persia and defeated the Turkish Sultan Solyman using his scimitar.

Ques. State the two brave deeds Morocco is prepared to carry out in order to win Portia.
Ans. The two deeds Morocco is prepared to carry out in order to win Portia are as follows:
a) He is ready to pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear.
b) He can ridicule or mock the lion when he is roaring for prey.

Ques. Who are Hercules and Lichas? Why does Morocco give their example? In what context does he do so?
Ans. In Greek mythology, Hercules was the bravest and strongest hero and Lichas was his servant.
Morocco says that fortune or fate may sometimes turn the tables on a man and a weaker or inferior person can defeat the stronger or superior one.
In this very context, he gives the example of Hercules and Lichas. Once they played a game of dice and the stronger hand came from Lichas and Hercules was defeated.

Ques. Why is fortune said to be blind? What does Morocco fear since the blind fortune is leading him to choose the casket?
Ans. Fortune is said to be blind because many times an undeserving man seems to win, and a deserving person loses. It often happens in real life. That is why fortune is said to be blind.
Morocco has to choose one of the caskets, without knowing which is the right casket.
To step towards some unknown path, in his opinion is going blindly towards it. His confidence does not seem to work here.

Ques. What final instruction does Portia give to Morocco before he is led to make the choice? Why does she take him to the temple before he makes the choice of the casket?
Ans. Portia gives the final instruction to Morocco before he is led to make the choice that in ase of opening the wrong casket, he will have to leave immediately, and he would never speak to a lady on the subject of marriage.
She takes him to the temple to swear an oath if he makes the wrong choice, he will follow the instructions given above.

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