Merchant of Venice study questions

in the opening scene, what do Antonio’s friends assume he is worried about? Antonio’s friends assume his depression stems from worry about his merchant ships
what is actually troubling Antonio? he seems to have a presentiment and says he is simply depressed
what does Gratiano mean when he says “but… gudgeon”? don’t act melancholy just to seem wise
why does Bassanio need money? he want to clear his debts so he can marry Portia
why doesn’t Antonio just give his friend the money? his wealth is all tied up in his ships
why doesn’t Portia feel she can simply choose the man she wishes to marry? her father devised a “test” that her suitors must pass
how is the choice among Portia’s suitors to be made? suitors must choose among three chests- gold, silver, and lead; the one who chooses the correct one can ask for Portia’s hand
what does Portia have against the Neapolitan prince? all he talks about is his horse
what does Portia have against Count Palantine? he’s grumpy
what does Portia have against Monsieur le Bon? he has the combined faults of many men; he frowns, talks about his horses, prances
what does Portia have against Falconbridge? he can’t converse with her as he neither speaks Italian nor French
what does Portia have against the Scottish lord? he’s in hella debt
what does Portia have against the young German? she likes him neither when he is drunk nor sober
which suitor does Nerissa feel best deserves her lady? Bassanio
how can you tell that Portia does not like the Prince of Morocco? she says he has the “complexion of a devil” and she would rather give her confession to him than marry him
how much does Bassanio borrow from Shylock? 3 000 ducats for three months
what are the conditions of Shylock’s loan? Antonio signs for the loan; if the loan is forfeited, Antonio gives Shylock a pound of flesh
what does Shylock mean when he says “Antonio is a good man”? Antonio is a good business risk
what is Shylock’s response to Bassanio’s dinner invitation? he will do business with Bassanio, but he won’t eat or drink with him
why does Shylock bring up Jacob and the sheep? he’s responding to Antonio’s comment that Antonio doesn’t customarily get engaged in moneylending for interest. Shylock points out that the biblical Jacob engaged in interest, of sorts, by figuring out a way to work a contract he had signed with his uncle, Laban, to his own advantage. he made sure that most of the lambs turned out to be streaked- and hence, went to him.
how has Antonio mistreated Shylock in the past- and why? Antonio has spat on Shylock and denounced his race bc Shylock charged high interests on his loans
does Antonio promise to treat Shylock better in return for the loan? no, Antonio says he is just as likely to treat Shylock that way again; Shylock should considerthe loan as one to an enemy, not a friend.
does Bassanio encourage Antonio to seal the bond with Shylock? no, Bassanio protests against the “pound of flesh” clause and urges his friend not to seal such a bond
why does Antonio say, “the Hebrew will turn Christian”? Shylock has agreed to help Bassanio; Antonio is saying that maybe Shylock isn’t so bad after all
where is Act II, scene I set? Belmont, Portia’s estate
why does the Prince of Morocco offer to show Portia his blood? so he can prove his blood is redder than the lighter-skinned suitors and so he is worthier of her
what test did Portia’s late father devise for her suitors? suitors must choose the correct coffer from among three inscribed chests-one gold, one silver, and one lead
what dilemma does Launcelot face? he’s deciding whether or not to leave his master, Shylock
what does Launcelot’s conscience tell him to do? his conscience tells him not to run off
why doesn’t Launcelot’s father recognize him? Gobbo is old and blind
what lie does Launcelot tell his father, at first? Launcelot pretends to be someone else and speculates that Launcelot may be dead
what reason does Launcelot give for deciding to leave Shylock? he says he is growing hungry and thin in Shylock’s service
what present has Gobbo brought for Shylock? he’s brought a dish of doves
why does Gratiano want to accompany Antonio to Belmont? he is in love with Nerissa, Portia’s handmaid
how does Jessica react to Launcelot’s news that he is leaving? she is sorry and says she will miss his good humor
what does Jessica give to Launcelot? a letter for Lorenzo
what does Jessica plan to do after she leaves her father? marry Lorenzo
What does Jessica mean when she says “…though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners”? she is Shylock’s daughter and a Jew by blood, but she is renouncing her Jewishness in favor of Christianity
what invitation is Launcelot delivering to Shylock? Shylock is invited to dine at Bassanio’s
why does Lorenzo give Launcelot money? he’s paying Launcelot for delivering the letter from Jessica
whom does Lorenzo arrange to meet at Gratiano’s lodging? Lorenzo arranges to meet Gratiano, Salerio, and Solanio at Gratiano’s
what does Lorenzo reveal about the contents of Jessica’s letter? in it she directs how he is to come get her and what she will take from her father’s
where is Shylock going? Shylock is going to dinner at Bassanio’s
according to Shylock, why has he accepted the invitation? he goes to feed his hatred and to get revenge
what does Shylock say to Launcelot about his new employee? he says Launcelot shall not have it as easy as he had as Shylock’s servant
why does Launcelot say, “your worship was wont to tell me I could do nothing without bidding”? Launcelot is responding to Shylock’s command that he not call out for Jessica; Launcelot is complaining that Shylock expected to do only as he was told
what instructions does Shylock give Jessica? to lock up the house and not to look at the Christian masquers when they pass by in the street
what is Jessica planning to do? she is planning to disappear among the masquers when Lorenzo and the others come for her
who are Gratiano and Salerio waiting for? Lorenzo
how is Jessica disguised- and why? she is disguised as a pageboy to hide her elopement
what do Gratiano and Antonio talk about? Antonio has come to tell Gratiano to hurry up bc the ships are about to set sail
why does Portia show the Prince of Morocco the three caskets? he’s supposed to try to pick the correct one before asking for her hand in marriage
what is the inscription on the gold casket? “who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire”
what is the inscription on the silver casket? “who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves”
what is the inscription on the lead casket? “who chooseth must give and hazard all he hath”
why does the Prince of Morocco choose the gold casket? he humbly admits that while he may not deserve Portia, and while he wouldn’t take unnecessary risks for personal gain, he certainly desires her
what does Morocco find in the gold casket? a scroll saying that not all that glitters is gold
why did Shylock have Bassanio’s ship searched? Shylock has learned of Jessica’s flight and is looking for her
why has Bassanio gone away on the ship? he and Gratiano are on their way to Belmont
why are Solanio and Salerio planning to visit Antonio? they want to tell him what they’ve heard about the loss of a ship, in case it’s his
what do the suitors have to promise before they take the “test”? they have to promise that they’ll leave immediately and pursue Portia no longer if they fail
which casket does the prince of Aragon choose- and why? he chooses the silver one bc he’s arrogant and assumes he deserves Portia
what news does the messenger bring? Bassanio has arrived
what bad news does Salerio bring? the ship wrecked was Antonio’s :/
how does Shylock react to his daughter’s departure? he is in a rage about her departure and theft of his money and jewels
what does Shylock mean by “let him look to his bond”? he expects Antonio to meet the terms of the bond- to give up a pound of flesh, now that his ships are lost
why does Shylock ask, “hath not a Jew eyes?” this is Shylock’s response to Salerio’s statements that surely Shylock would not actually take Antonio’s flesh. Shylock is saying that he is as human as any Christian; he has been wronged by a Christian and deserves revenge.
what has Tubal been doing? he’s been out looking for Jessica
what has Jessica stolen from her father? she has taken jewels from him- including a ring that had been Leah’s
for what purpose does Shylock arrange to meet Tubal at the synagogue? presumably Shylock wants to plan his revenge on Antonio
why does Portia suggest that Bassanio wait a day or two before choosing among the caskets? she wants to enjoy him and put off the moment when she might lose him
why does Portia give the order for music to be played? if Bassanio makes the wrong choice, Portia suggests it would be better to make a dramatic, swan-like end to music
basically, what is the song about? why do ppl fall in love?
why doesn’t Bassanio choose the gold casket? he argues that evil and cowardice are often gilded as goodness
why does Bassanio choose the lead casket and what does he find inside? he chooses lead bc it is the least showy and contains no inscription with false promise- but holds a threat, instead. inside he finds a picture of Portia
according to Portia, what will happen if he loses the ring? such a loss would foresee the end of her love; she would cry out against him
why was Gratiano so eager for Bassanio to pick the right casket? this gives him easier access to the woman he loves- Nerissa
when Lorenzo shows up with Jessica, what does Gratiano call her? Gratiano teasingly calls her an infidel
what is in the letter Salerio brings Bassanio? the letter contains news of Antonio’s losses
how does Portia react to the news about Antonio’s loss? she offers to repay the debt two or three times over
what does Jessica tell the others about her father? from what she has heard, he will settle for nothing less than revenge; he will be hard on Antonio
why does Portia tell Bassanio to “be gone”? she tells him she wants him to take care of this messy business with Shylock so that they can relax and enjoy each other
according to Antonio, why does Shylock refuse to show him mercy? he knows that Shylock wants revenge for all the times Antonio took away business by giving interest-free loans
why doesn’t Antonio think the Duke will be able to help him? he thinks a decision in his favor would compromise Venice’s reputation for justice
why is Portia sure that Antonio is worth helping? he is Bassanio’s friend and must be a good man like Bassanio
What does Portia want Lorenzo to do while she is gone? she tells him to take care of the house until Bassanio returns
what does Portia tell Lorenzo she and Nerissa will be doing? they will be living in prayer
who is Doctor Bellario? Portia’s “cousin”- a lawyer
what instructions does Portia give Balthasar? she tells him to bring to the ferry whatever papers and garments Bellario gives him for her
what does Portia tell Nerissa about her plan? she tells her handmaid that they will turn themselves into men
why does Launcelot think that Nerissa is doomed? he reminds her that, according to the Bible, the sins of the fathers are visited on their children
how does Nerissa think her husband will “save” her? she will be saved by converting to his faith- Christianity
who is the father of “the Moor’s” unborn baby? apparently Launcelot
what does Lorenzo want to talk about over dinner? he wants to listen to Jessica praise him
what is the Duke’s opinion of Shylock? the Duke considers Shylock an “inhuman wretch”
what does the Duke mean when he tells Shylock “we all expect a gentle answer”? he is encouraging Shylock to give a gentlemanly response
what offer does Shylock turn down? the Duke’s suggestion that he forgive a portion of the loan
why does Shylock mention pigs, cats, and bagpipes? he’s explaining that he’s choosing the flesh over money bc he wants to and compares his dislike of Antonio to many people’s apparently groundless dislike of other things: they just don’t happen to like these things
who are Nerissa and Portia pretending to be? a lawyer and clerk of the court
who calls Shylock “harsh Jew” and “inexecrable dog”? Gratiano
why does Portia talk about money? she’s making a plea for Shylock to show mercy- before he starts playing hardball
why doesn’t Shylock have a doctor standing by? he says it wasn’t specified in the bond and probably hopes that Antonio will die
does Antonio seem prepared to die or is he putting up a fight? he resigns himself quickly to his fate
what do both Bassanio and Gratiano say they would give up to protect Antonio? their wives
how does Portia save Antonio? she points out it is illegal for a Jew to conspire against the life of a citizen; also the bond says nothing about spilling blood
what does Shylock lose as a result of the ruling? he must convert to Christianity and half of his money goes to the state- the other half goes to Lorenzo and Jessica on Shylock’s death
how does the Duke show some mercy to Shylock? the Duke spares Shylock’s life
what two requirements does Antonio add to Shylock’s punishment? the conversion and inheritance are Antonio’s ideas
what payment does (disguised) Portia request? Bassanio’s ring
what is the deed Portia tells Nerissa to have Shylock sign? the deed of gift for Lorenzo and Jessica
how does Gratiano lose his ring? the disguised Nerissa demands it in payment
what news do the messenger and Launcelot bring? the messenger announces that Portia will be at Belmont by daybreak and Launcelot announces that Bassanio will be back by morning
what do Portia and Nerissa hear, upon their return home? music
what order do Portia have Nerissa give the servants? to say nothing about her absence
why do Nerissa and Gratiano start quarreling? bc of the missing ring
how do Gratiano and Bassanio explain the loss of their rings? they explain what they consider the truth- the lawyer and the clerk demanded the rings as payment
how do the two men get their rings back? Portia and Nerissa produce the rings, teasing about the “men” they bedded, from whom they retrieved the rings
what additional good news does Portia have for Antonio? three of his ships have returned safely
what is the “manna” that Portia gives to Lorenzo and Nerissa? the deed entitling them to Shylock’s property

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