Merchant of Venice ACT 2 Scene 8 Question Answers

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 Extract I

I never heard a passion so confused,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:
"My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter!
A seald bag, two seald bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stoln from me by my daughter!
And jewelstwo stones, two rich and precious stones,
Stoln by my daughter! Justice, find the girl!
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats!"

1. What is meant by a passion so confused, so strange, outrageous, and so variable? Why was the Jew so excited?

Ans:  In the given lines, Salanio says that he has not seen such an outburst of anger, so confused, so strange, excessive and frequently changing as is displayed by the Jew. Shylock discovers that his daughter has eloped after robbing him of his money and jewelry. This makes him excited and furious with grief and despair. He gives vent to it through an exhibition of passionate excitement and anger which is strange, excessive, and frequently changing.

2. Earlier, how did the Jew trouble the Duke? Where did the Duke go and what were his findings?

Ans:   Earlier, Shylock roused the Duke with his complaints against Lorenzo and Jessica for robbing him of his money and jewelry and eloping. He made such a disturbance that the Duke was obliged to attend to his demands. He even accompanied the Duke to search for Lorenzo and Jessica on board Bassanio’s ship. By the time they reached the place, the ship had already set sail. The Duke was told by someone that Lorenzo and Jessica had been seen sitting together in a gondola.

3.  Besides money, what else did his daughter steal?

Ans:   Besides money, the Jew’s daughter, Jessica store some jewels, precious stones and diamonds.

4. Give the meaning of:

(a) double ducats

(b) sealed bag

Ans:   a) double ducats: coins of double ducats.
(b) a sealed bag: a bag that is securely sealed to ensure the security of its contents.

5. What did Shylock utter in his excitement? Explain how Shylock’s lamentations add to the humor in the play.

Ans: In his excitement, Shylock utters confused cries for his daughter, who had eloped with a Christian, taking with her, his ducats and jewellery. He wants justice from the law
Shylocks’ lamentations add to the humour in the play. He is depicted as a comic character in the scene. The manner in which he laments the loss of his daughter and his ducats amuses the audience; Shylock’s repetition of ‘O my daughter! O my Christian ducats!’ indicate his greedy nature and shows that Jessica is another possession for him like the ducats. The manner in which all the boys of Venice follow him and repeat his words of lamentation in a tone of mockery and jeer at him further add to the humour in the scene.

Extract II


Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Or he shall pay for this.

Marry, well remember'd.
I reasoned with a Frenchman yesterday,
Who told me, in the narrow seas that part
The French and English, there miscarried
A vessel of our country richly fraught;
I thought upon Antonio when he told me;
And wished in silence that it were not his.

1. What is meant by: 'Let good Antonio look he keep his day'? What could be the consequence if Antonio failed to 'keep his day'?

Ans:   Let good Antonio keep his day’ means let worthy Antonio make sure that he has the money to pay Shylock on the appointed day. If he fails to keep his day, Shylock would take his revenge on Antonio.

2. What did Salarino hear from the Frenchman, the previous day? Why was the news quite startling?

Ans:   In his conversation with a Frenchman, Salarino heard that a richly laden ship from Italy had been wrecked in the narrow channel which divides England and France. The news was startling because Salarino thought of Antonio’s ship and wished that it might not be one of his ships.

3. After hearing the news from the Frenchman, what did Salarino wish?

Ans:   Salarino wished that the wrecked ship might not be one of Antonio’s ships.

4. What 'advice does Salanio give to Salarino regarding Antonio?

Ans:  Salanio advises Salarino to tell Antonio what he has heard about a shipwreck. However, he advises him not to tell Antonio about the news immediately for it may make him sad.

5. Explain how the news given by the Frenchman creates suspense in the story. What would be Shylock's reaction after hearing the news?

Ans:   The news given by the Frenchman creates suspense in the story. The possibility of the wreckage of one of Antonio’s ships casts a gloom since it may imply that Antonio would not be able to make payment of the loan on the day the bond is due. After hearing the news, Shylock would be happy as that would allow him to take his revenge on Antonio.

Extract III


Of his return. He answered, Do not so;
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio,
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jews bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there:"

1. In What context has Antonio said the words given in quotation? Who quotes his words here?

Ans:  Antonio has said these words at the time of bidding farewell to Bassanio, when the latter was about to embank on his journey to Belmont. Salarino quotes his words here.

2. Give the meaning of:

(a) Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio
(b) But stay the very riping of the time.

Ans: (a) Bassanio, do not spoil your plan for my sake.
(b) But stay as long as it would be necessary to attain your objective.

3. What advice did Antonio give to Bassanio about the latter's stay in Belmont and his love affair?

Ans:  Antonio advises Bassanio to stay at Belmont as long as it would be necessary for winning Portia and tells him not to bother about the bond. He advises Bassanio to be cheerful and devote himself entirely to win his lady-love in a most suitable manner.

4. Describe how Antonio parted from Bassanio. What does it show about their relationship ? 

Ans: While parting, Antonio’s eyes were filled with tears. He turned his face away and extended his hand behind him. Then, moved by his love, he held the hands of Bassanio and they parted from each other. It shows that there is great love and affection between them.

5. What role do Salanio and Salarino play in the scene? What do they decide to do at the end of this scene?

Ans:  Salanio and Salarino provide information about recent events. They report Shylock’s fury and parody his behaviour. They are worried about Antonio and go quickly to look for him and cheer him up. They do not take part in the action of the play, but keep the action going when the chief characters are absent. At the end of the scene, Salanio and Salarino decide to look for Antonio and raise his low spirits with some amusement.