The Merchant Of Venice Act -2, Scene - 1 questions answers

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Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow: 

Extract 1.


Bring me the fairest creature northward born, Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
And let us make incision for your love,
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath fear'd the valiant: by my love, I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have loved it too: I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.5

(i)  Where does this scene take place? Who are present in the scene? What explanation does Morocco give for his dark complexion?

Ans:  This scene takes place in a room in Portia’s house at Belmont. Prince of Morocco, Portia, Nerissa, and their attendants are present in the scene. Morocco explains that he had a dark complexion as he stayed in a country where the sun is fierce. He says that his country is closer to the equator where the sun's rays are vertical and intense. He says that don't go to his complexion he has the reddest blood.

(ii) What qualities does a creature born in the north have? Why?

Ans: People born in North have fair skin, bright complexion. Because of the cold climate and There sun's rays are so faint that they are hardly able to melt the frost, snow, and icicles.

(iii) Who is Phoebus and what is meant by Phoebus' fire? What test does the speaker propose, to prove 'whose blood is reddest'?

Ans: Phoebus is the classical sun-god and Phoebus' fire means heat of the sun
Morocco proposes that bring a person with the palest skin, northward born and they should open their veins to see whose blood is redder. He was confident that he was the most valiant and courageous man. 

(iv) What effect does the physical appearance of Morocco have on the brave men and the prettiest women of his country?

Ans:  According to the prince of Morocco his skin color frightened the brave men Whereas and Prettiest women of his country admire it and love him.

(v) On what condition is the speaker prepared to change his dark complexion? What idea do you get about the character of the Prince of Morocco from the extract?

Ans: The prince of Morocco was proud of his skin complexion but he is ready to change his skin complexion to win the heart of Portia. 
Morocco is a warrior and self-assured man. He has a large imposing physical appearance and is proud of his dark complexion. He is an egoist who thinks that he is better than other people. He boasts of his red blood and the admiration and affection he enjoys in his land.


Extract No. 2


Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
But if my father had not scanted me,
And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renownèd Prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have looked on yet
For my affection.

(i) What is the lottery of Portia's destiny? How does it prevent her from the right of voluntary choosing?

Ans:  'Lottery of Portia's destinyrefers to lottery of caskets devised according to her father's will. Her fate completely depends on luck.
According to the lottery, Portia's hand will be won by the suitor who will choose the right casket. Portia has no right to choose her husband. Her freedom of choice is taken away by the lottery of caskets designed by her father. The suitor who makes the best decision will be chosen as her husband.

(ii) Give the meaning of: " But if my father had not scanted me, / And hedged me by his wit,..."

Ans:  Portia is saying these lines to the Prince of Morocco. These lines mean " if my father hadn’t restricted me like this by his wisdom, to give myself as a wife to the man who wins his lottery of casket, then you’d have had as good a chance to marry me as any of the suitors I’ve met so far" 

(iii) How prudent was Portia's father to have arranged her marriage through the lottery? Give a reason for your answer.

Ans: Portia's father was very prudent, as he wanted his daughter to marry a man who choose the right casket. The person who passes the test correctly would be one who loves Portia for herself, not for her wealth and beauty. He devised the lottery to expose and exclude greedy and materialistic men.

(iv) Give a brief sketch of Prince of Morocco in this scene.

Ans: Prince of Morocco is a warrior and self-assured man. He has a large imposing physical appearance and is proud of his dark complexion. He is an egoist who thinks that he is better than other people. He boasts of his red blood and the admiration and affection he enjoys in his land from the nobles and the best of maidens. He admits that the lottery of the caskets has no consideration for heroism and can be won by anyone, even an undeserving candidate. He harps on the idea of chance-choice, lottery, destiny, choosing, fortune, and hazards.

(v) Do you agree with Portia's Statement that the Prince of Morocco stands as fair a chance as the other suitors? Give a reason to justify your opinion.

Ans: Portia does not really mean that Morocco had a good chance of winning her love, Portia was just being courteous and polite. Her seeming compliment to Morocco is a sarcastic quip. Portia would not have liked to marry a self-assured and boastful prince like Price of Morroco.


Extract No.3

By this scimitar,
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
To win thee, lady. But, alas 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 Alcides beaten by his page;
And so may I, blind Fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.

(i) What is meant by a 'scimitar'? What conquests did Morocco make by using his scimitar?

Ans: ‘Scimitar’ means sword. By using his scimitar, Morocco had killed the Emperor of Persia, a Persian Prince, who had defeated Sultan Solyman of Turkey in three battles

(ii) State two of the brave deeds Morroco is prepared to carry out in order to win Portia.

Ans: Prince of Morroco is prepared to defy the most daring heart on earth, Snatch away the young sucking cubs from the mother bear and dare her wrath and to challenge hungry lion in order to win Portia.

(iii) Who are Hercules and Lichas? What could happen if they were to play a game of dice? In what way is this example applicable to Morocco?

Ans:  In Greek Mythology, Hercules was renowned for his manliness, strength, and exploits. Lichas was his servant. 
According to the legend, once Hercules and Lichas were playing a game of dice and Lichas was fortunate enough to win the game. This example is applicable to Morocco since his fame, wealth and achievements are of no help to him to win Portia. His inferior rival could win if the fate blessed him.

(iv) What final instruction does Portia give to Morocco before he is led to make the choice?

Ans: Before he is led to make the choice, Portia instructs him to attempt to choose only if he was ready to take oath in Chapel that if he chose wrong he would never speak to any lady on subject of marriage.

(v) Why is the fortune said to be blind? what does Morocco fear since the blind fortune is leading him to choose the casket?

Ans: The goddess Fortune is usually represented blindfolded. Fortune is said to be blind due to the unaccountable variations in her dispensation of favors to mankind. He fears that as the blind fortune is leading him to choose the right casket, the outcome depends only on chance as in a game of dice.