Merchant of Venice Miscellaneous Questions and Answers

Study Material

Miscellaneous Merchant of Venice

Students should read the Merchant of Venice Miscellaneous Questions 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 Miscellaneous Questions

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

    Antonio:
    In sooth, I know not why I am sad. It wearies me; you say it wearies you; but how I
    caught it, found it, or came by it, What stuff ‘tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to
    learn. And such a want-wit sadness makes of me that I have much ado to know myself.

Ques. Who is the speaker? How does he describe his sadness?
Ans. The speaker is Antonio, the famous wealthy merchant of Venice and he is one of the most important characters
of the play.

He describes his sadness as something he does not understand. He does not know why he is sad or what is the origin of his sadness. It makes him tired and has made him an absent minded fellow.

Ques. Who is with him? Who are the others who come later?
Ans. Salarino is there with Antonio.
Gratiano, Lorenzo and Bassanio come later.

Ques. Give the meaning of – a) In sooth, b) Want-wit, c) Ado
Ans. a) In sooth – In truth
b) Want-wit – An absent minded fellow
c) Ado – Trouble

Ques. What does his friend tell him?
Ans.Bassanio tells him about Portia, whom he wants to marry. He has no money. He needs money to go to Belmont and try his luck, as there are many suitors wishing to marry her. She is beautiful, virtuous and an heiress.

Ques. What does Antonio say in reply?
Ans. Antonio says there is no need to request for money because whatever he possesses is Bassanio’s also. But at present, he has no money, as all his ships are in foreign lands for business. He promises to have money for Bassanio on credit and also, he asks Bassanio to try to find out how is his (Antonio’s) credit.

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

    Antonio:
    Why fear not man, I will not forfeit it. Within these two months; that’s a month before
    this bond expires, I do expect return of thrice three times the value of this bond.

Ques. With whom is Antonio talking?
Ans. Antonio is talking with his friend Bassanio. Bassanio is asking him not to agree with Shylock regarding the dangerous condition of Shylock’s bond which he is offering to Antonio.

Ques. Why does he say, ‘fear not’?
Ans. Antonio says ‘fear not’ because he is confident that his ships will return a month before the date given in
the bond.

Ques. Why is another person worried?
Ans. Bassanio is the other person. He is worried because he knows Shylock is cruel and
hates Antonio. If Antonio is unable to pay back the money it will be fatal for him.

Ques. How does Antonio comfort him?
Ans. Antonio comforts his friend Bassanio by telling him not to worry as he is sure that his ships will return before the due date and he will be able to pay back the loan taken from Shylock.

Ques. How long is the time for the expiry of the bond?
Ans. The expiry of the bond will be after three months from the date on which the loan is taken and the bond is signed.

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

    Bassanio:
    Well, we shall see your bearing.

    Gratiano:
    Nay, but I bar tonight; you shall not gauge me.
    By what we do tonight.

    Bassanio:
    No, that were pity, I would entreat you rather to put on your boldest suit of mirth, for
    we have friends that purpose merriment. But you fare well, I have some business.

Ques.  Who is Bassanio talking with? Why does he say, “We shall see your bearing”?
Ans. Bassanio is talking with Gratiano.
He tells Gratiano that he will see how his conduct is. He wants to be sure of Gratiano’s sober behaviour.

Ques.  What request does Bassanio make to that person?
Ans. Bassanio requests Gratiano that for that evening, his conduct should be the same ‘happy go lucky’ one, as before.

Ques. Why has Bassanio put this request?
Ans. He makes this request because some of his friends are meeting him today and they will like to see Gratiano as comic and merry as he can be.

Ques. What does ‘boldest suit of mirth’ mean?
Ans. Suit of mirth has two meanings:
a) It means party dress.
b) It also means amusing manner.

Ques. Where is Bassanio planning to go and why?
Ans. Bassanio is going to meet his friend Antonio and later he plans to go to Belmont to woo Portia.

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

    Lorenzo:
    Whither goest thou?

    Lancelot:
    Marry, sir. To bid my old master, the Jew, to sup tonight with my new master, the Christian.

    Lorenzo:
    Hold here, take this (gives money) tell gentle Jessica, I will not fail her, speak it privately;
    Go…. (Exit Lancelot)

Ques. Who is Lorenzo? What are the main important points of his character?
Ans. Lorenzo is a friend of Antonio and Bassanio. He has an artistic nature. He loves Jessica for her own self not because she is a daughter of a very rich man. He is romantic and his poetic qualities are revealed when he describes and praises the beauty of nature. He contributes to the romantic atmosphere of the play bringing in love, music
and poetry.

Ques. Who is Lancelot? What message he has to convey and to whom?
Ans. Lancelot was Shylock’s servant who leaves him to work for Bassanio.
He has to convey Lorenzo’s message to Jessica, Shylock’s daughter that he (Lorenzo) will not fail her.

Ques. Where did Lancelot work before?
Ans. Lancelot worked in Shylock’s house before who was not kind to him.

Ques. Give the meaning of – a) Bid, b) Sup, c) Hold here
Ans. a) Bid – Invite
b) Sup – Dine
c) Hold here – Wait here

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

    Shylock:
    I am bid forth to supper,

    Jessica:
    These are my keys- But wherefore should I go? I am not bid for love, they flatter me;
    but yet I will go in hate- to feed upon The Prodigal Christian; Jessica, my girl,
    look to my house-I am right loath to go.
    There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest; for I did dream of money-bags tonight.

Ques. Where is shylock going and why?
Ans. Shylock is going to Bassanio’s place. He has been invited to dinner by Bassanio.

Ques. What are shylock’s feelings concerning this dinner?
Ans. In reality, Shylock hates Christians and specially Antonio. He is not going to dinner at Bassanio’s because of any friendly or genial feelings. He himself accepts that he is going in hate.

Ques. Do you think Shylock was superstitious as he talks about his dream and his premonition?
Ans. Shylock says, “There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest.” In reality, he does not wish to go. Certainly, he is superstitious because he believes without any concrete proof that something evil is going to happen to him.

Ques. Does his premonition or the feeling of some evil come true?
Ans. Although shylock can be called superstitious, yet it is a fact that his premonition of evil becomes the truth and he lose all his money and his daughter in a single stroke of misfortune.

Ques. Give the meaning of – a) Bid forth, b) Prodigal, c) Loath, c) ill a-brewing
Ans. a) Bid forth – Called/invited
b) Prodigal – Spendthrift – the reference is to the story of prodigal son in the Bible
c) Loath – To be reluctant
d) Ill a-brewing – Some evil being planned

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

    Shylock:
    To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me
    half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my
    friends, heated my enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.

Ques. Why does Shylock say, ‘To bait fish withal’? Who is the other person with him?
Ans. Salarino says to Shylock that in case of forfeiture of Antonio’s bond, a pound of flesh will be useless for Shylock. In that reference, Shylock shows his intention by saying that the flesh can be used to bait or trap the fish. Salarino is the other person with him.


Ques. How many grievances Shylock has against Antonio?
Ans. Shylock has many grievances against Antonio. According to him, Antonio has harmed him in many ways. Antonio has disgraced him and hindered him from gains by giving people loans without interest. He has made fun of his gains, laughed at his losses, alienated his friends and encouraged his enemies.

Ques. Is there some truth in his words?
Ans. There is certainly some truth in Shylock’s claims because in those days, there was great enmity between Christians and Jews. Both disliked each other.

Ques. What light do his words throw on Antonio’s character?
Ans. Antonio was a wealthy merchant of Venice. He was kind and compassionate. He hated Shylock because he was greedy and was a cruel usurer. The only drawback of his character is that he hated Jews which was a common trait among Christians in those days.

Ques. Give the meaning of – a) To bait, b) Revenge, c) Hindered, c) Thwarted
Ans. a) To bait – To trap
b) Revenge – Punishment or injury done in return for harm that one has suffered
c) Hindered – To prevent the progress of somebody
d) Thwarted – To prevent somebody’s plans from succeeding.

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

    Bassanio:
    But when this ring parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
    aO, then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead.

Ques. About which ring is Bassanio talking?
Ans. Portia has given Bassanio a ring as the token of her love and devotion.

Ques. What does Bassanio promise?
Ans. Bassanio promises to always wear this ring and never to lose it.

Ques. What has Portia said before Bassanio’s speech?
Ans. Before Bassanio’s speech Portia has said whatever she has in this world now belongs to Bassanio. She herself is his. She offers herself in a very modest and humble way before Bassanio. She gives him a ring and also says that the day he loses it or gives it to another person, will pronounce the end of their love. Then she will be free to accuse him for breaking his promise.

Ques. Is Bassanio able to keep his promise?
Ans. No, Bassanio is unable to keep his promise. Portia in the guise of Dr. Balthazar saves Antonio’s life and when she is offered money for her services, she refuses to take themoney but asks Bassanio the ring which was given by her. At first, he refuses and tells her to take anything else which she refuses. In the end, reluctantly he has to give up that ring under pressure.

Ques. What argument takes place later between Portia and Bassanio in reference to this ring?
Ans. When all of them returned to Belmont from Venice, (Portia and Nerissa, a little earlier) Portia sees the ring missing, she accuses Bassanio that he has given that ring to some woman. Bassanio tries to clarify the situation but Portia is adamant. Then at Antonio’s intervention she relents and returns the ring to Bassanio. Then it is cleared that it was Portia in the guise of Dr. Balthazar and she had saved Antonio from certain death by her wit and skills. The atmosphere in Belmont becomes joyful and romantic again.

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

    Shylock:
    Most learned judge! – A sentence- come prepare.

    Portia:
    Tarry a little, there is something else, this bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. The
    words expressly are, “A pound of flesh” take them thy bond take thou thy pound of
    flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou shed a one drop of Christian blood, thy lands and
    goods are by the laws of Venice, are confiscate unto the state of Venice.

Ques. Where are the speakers? Why does Shylock address Portia as the most learned judge? What was Shylock about to do when Portia asked him to tarry a little?
Ans. The speakers are in a Court of Justice in Venice. Shylock addresses Portia as the most learned judge as she admits the legality of Shylock’s claim that he can have a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
Portia asks Shylock to wait when he was going to sharpen his knife to cut Antonio’s flesh.

Ques. What did Antonio tell Bassanio (before the extract) to tell his wife about himself?
Ans. Antonio asked Bassanio to tell Portia, in what manner the former will face his death, how much he loved Bassanio and also asked Bassanio to tell her everything and then ask her whether Bassanio had a truly loving friend or not?

Ques. Give two instances to show that till now Portia openly supported the cause of Shylock.
Ans. In the beginning, Portia frankly tells the court that the law of forfeiture in Venice cannot be changed. She also says that the law regarding forfeiture is fully applicable in this case. Therefore, Antonio must be prepared to give his pound of flesh demanded by Shylock as per law.

Ques. What was the drawback in the agreement, which made Portia able to save Antonio?
Ans. The drawback in the agreement is that it says only a pound of flesh can be taken.
There is no mention of shedding of the blood while cutting the flesh. No one can cut exact amount of flesh, either it is slightly less or slightly more. This is another drawback in the agreement.

Ques. How does Gratiano react when Portia gives the latest interpretation of the terms of the bond?

Ans. Shylock is confused, frustrated and totally defeated when Portia tells him that he can certainly take a pound of flesh according to the agreement but there cannot be a single drop of blood shedded. Secondly, he should cut an exact amount of flesh, not a little more or a little less. Gratiano cheers hearing this end and says just like Shylock “O learned! O Jew, an upright judge, a learned judge.”

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

    Antonio:
    So please my lord, the duke and all the court.
    To quit the fine for one half of his state.
    I am content, so he will let me have the other half in use, to render it upon his death,
    unto the gentleman that lately stole his daughter.

Ques. What does Antonio request to the duke?
Ans. Antonio requests to the Duke to quit the fine for one half of Shylock’s state.

Ques. Who is the gentleman referred here by Antonio?
Ans. The gentleman referred here is Lorenzo, who is Antonio’s and Bassanio’s friend. He has recently eloped with Shylock’s daughter Jessica which is another shock for Shylock.

Ques. What is Antonio’s condition for the other half of the Jew’s state?
Ans. Antonio’s condition for Shylock’s other half of the state is that he will use it till Shylock’s death and then it will be rendered to Lorenzo and Jessica.

Ques. What does this passage show about his character?
Ans. Antonio emerges as a noble man who has mercy and who is a philanthropist. The only weak point of his character is his prejudice against Jews. Possessing so many qualities of head and heart he has failed to rise above racial and religious prejudices.

Ques. What is the condition of Shylock after the verdict of the court?
Ans. Shylock is completely crushed at the total ruin of his cruel plan to kill Antonio. He is like a man who was expecting complete success and has to face complete ruin, disaster and disgrace.

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