Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary and Question Answers

Study Material

Act 2 Scene 7 Summary Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 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 7 Summary


The casket story revolves around three scenes. This being first of them. Prince of Morocco has come to participate in the lottery of caskets so that he may choose the right casket and marry Portia. He reads the inscriptions of all the three caskets, makes the choice, fails and returns to his native land empty handed.

This scene is the illustration of the theme of reality and appearance. Gold appears most dazzling but choosing the golden casket Morocco loses. Inscriptions on the caskets are not clear. They are confusing. Lottery of the casket is represented as the true test of character. The qualities of pride, vanity and arrogance do not make a man a winner or successful is what we understand in this scene.


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

Go draw aside the curtains, and discover, the several caskets to this noble prince, – Now make your choice.

Ques. Who is asked to draw aside the curtains? Who is asked to make his choice?
Portia asks a servant to draw aside the curtains. (It may be a servant or Nerissa)

Prince of Morocco is asked to make his choice.

Ques. What does Portia say to the prince later regarding the right casket?
Ans. Portia says to the prince regarding the right choice that she will be his if he chooses the right casket. The right casket is that which contains Portia’s picture.

Ques. What casket does the prince finally choose?
Ans. The prince finally chooses the golden casket.

Ques. What are his reasons to choose that casket?
Ans. There are three reasons why he chose the golden casket.
a) The inscription on golden casket was ‘who chooses me will gain what many men desire’ and Portia was desired
by many.
b) On silver casket the inscription was that ‘the person who chooses it will gain as much as he deserves’. According to the prince of Morocco, there can be a
difference of opinion regarding the worth of a man deserving something. So, he does not open the silver casket.
c) For lead casket, he thinks that such a base metal cannot have such a precious object like Portia’s picture.
These are the three reasons why he chooses the golden casket.

Ques. What does the prince find when he opens the casket?
Ans. When the prince opens the golden casket he finds a skull, within the empty eye of the skull is a scroll.

Ques. What is written in the scroll?
Ans. It is written in the scroll that all that glitters is not gold. People are attracted by the shining gold and they are
deceived by it.

Ques. How does the prince leave? What does Portia say at his retreat?
Ans. The prince had made a ceremonial entry but he departs in silence.
Portia says at his retreat ‘Good riddance’. It shows her happiness and relief at the failure of the prince because she did not like him.

2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
    From the four corners of the earth they come,
   To kiss this shrine, this mortal breathing saint;
   The Hyrcanian deserts and the vastly wilds
   Of wild Arabia are as thoroughfares now
   For princes to come view fair Portia:
   The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
   Spits in the face of heaven is no bar
   To stop the foreign spirits, but they come,
   As over a brook, to see fair Portia

Ques. Who speaks these words? Where is he? What has he said about his courage in an earlier scene?
Ans. Prince of Morocco speaks these words.
He is in Portia’s home in Belmont.
In the earlier scene, he has said about his courage that he can defeat the bravest man in the world. He can pluck young sucking cubs from the she-bear and he can make fun of a roaring lion.

Ques. What is the significance of the words ‘shrine’ and ‘saint’ in the context? Which breathing saint the speaker
refers to?
Ans. ‘Shrine’ and ‘saint’, the two words signify holiness and purity. In the eyes of the Prince of Morocco, Portia has
these virtues.
The speaker refers to Portia as a living saint.

Ques. What warming is given by Portia to the speaker before he makes the choice?
Ans. Portia warns the speaker (Prince of Morocco) that he will have to swear if he fails in his attempt and chooses the wrong casket, he will never marry in future. He should decide this before he makes an attempt to choose the casket.

Ques. Who are ‘they’ that are referred to in the extract? What difficulties do they face while coming?
Ans. ‘They’ are the suitors from all over the world who are coming to see Portia and try their luck. While coming from far off places, they must cross the dangerous seas and deserts.

Ques. Give the meaning of – a) Hyrcanian deserts b) watery kingdom
Ans. a) A wild region south of the Caspian Sea
b) The stormy sea tossing spray at the sky

Ques. Why does the speaker reject the lead casket?
Ans. The speaker rejects the lead casket, because he thinks that a precious object as the picture of fair Portia cannot be kept in a casket of such a base metal like lead.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 7 Summary