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Merchant of Venice ACT 2 Scene 9 Question Answers

merchant of Venice act 2 scene 9 questions answers, workbook solutions, merchant of Venice workbook answers by Xavier pinto, merchant of Venice workbook answers act 2 scene 9 pdf

 Extract I

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

Quick, quick, I pray thee. Draw the curtain straight.
The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
And comes to his election presently

Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince:
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized.
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.

1. What proper honour is given to Arragon to indicate that he is a prince?

Ans:  To honour Arragon as a prince, trumpets were sounded as he entered the room and Portia addressed him as ‘noble prince’.

2. Enumerate the three conditions in the oath which Arragon was supposed to rake. 

Ans:  Arragon is bound by the oath to observe three conditions. First, he must never reveal to any other person which of the caskets he has selected. Second, if he does not win Portia, he should not woo any other lady. Third, if he chooses wrongly he must depart at once without further words.

3. Which conditions in the oath he explicitly keeps at the end of the scene?

Ans:  At the end of the scene, Arragon promises Portia that he would keep his promise and exits immediately as stipulated in the third condition that he would depart at once without further words.

4.  How wise is it to arrange marriages through a lottery system where chance plays a significant role? What does Portia feel in this regard? How does Nerissa justify the system in Portia's case?

Ans:  It is not wise to arrange marriages through a lottery system where chance plays a significant role and so may not allow one to choose the person of his or her choice. Nerissa justifies the lottery of caskets saying that her father was a virtuous man, who must have had her well-being at heart. So, according to her father’s will, she will be chosen by someone who will truly love her.

5. It is said that Arragon is too proud and self-opinionated. Do you agree with this statement? Give two reasons to justify your answer.

Ans: Prince Arragon is too proud and self-opinionated. While making his selection, he calls the common people as ‘fool multitude’ and as ‘barbarous multitudes’. He says that he will not act according to what common men choose and put himself on the level of the ignorant and the foolish. Secondly, Arragon thinks himself to be most deserving because of his inherited nobility.

Extract II

What says the golden chest? Ha, let me see.
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.

What many men desire that many may be meant
By the fool multitude that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to the interior, but like the martlet
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.

1. What does the inscription on the gold casket say? Which casket does the speaker choose?

Ans:  The inscription on the gold casket says ‘who chooses me shall gain what many men desire’. The speaker chooses the silver casket

2. How does Arragon interpret the meaning of 'many men' given on the gold casket?

Ans: Arragon says that the words ‘many men’ probably refer to the foolish majority, who are so slow-witted and who have so little wisdom that they judge only by appearances and outward glitter. Their untaught eyes never see the inner meaning of things, but is content to remain on the outside like the swallow.

3. How does Arragon compare the martlet to the foolish multitude?

Ans:  Arragon compares the multitude to the martlet. The martlet, instead of seeking a sheltered place for its nest, constructs it in the most exposed places like the outer wall, unprotected from, any stormy weather or any accident which may occur. Similarly, the foolish common people who judge by the outside of things, fall into errors and calamities.

4. Give the meaning of:

(a) in the force and road of casualty.

(b) rank me with the barbarous multitudes.

Ans:  (a) open to disaster and in the very path of danger.

(b) I don’t put myself at the level of the ignorant and foolish common people.

5. How is the theme of appearance and reality brought out in the choice of caskets? Why did Portia's father devise such a choice of caskets for Portia?

Ans:  The theme of appearance and reality is brought out in the choice of caskets. The ability to distinguish between reality and appearance depends not on intelligence but on insight and deeper human values. Arragon’s choice of the silver casket is influenced by materialistic considerations and self-love and not by love for Portia. Portia’s father devised such a choice of caskets for Portia because he wanted her to be chosen by someone who truly loves her.

Extract III

Why then, to thee, thou silver treasure house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves."
And well said toofor who shall go about
To cozen fortune and be honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an underserved dignity.

1.  What does the inscription on the silver casket say?

Ans:   The inscription on the silver casket says, ‘who chooses me shall get as much as he deserves’

2. Why did the words of the inscription on the silver casket appeal to Arragon?

Ans: Words on the inscription on the silver casket appeal to Arragon because the word ‘deserves’ meaning ‘merit’ in the inscription appeals to him. He thinks himself to be the most deserving. He feels that there are many who succeed without having any inner merit. But he ‘deserves’ because of his inherited nobility.

3. Give the meaning of:

To cozen fortune and be honourable Without the stamp of merit?

Ans: To try to cheat fortune and win something without merit. It means no one ought to be allowed to deceive and trick fortune by asking her for what he does not deserve.

4. How does Arragon explain further the importance of deserving before getting an honoured position?

Ans: Arragon tells that no man should aspire to be honoured unless he deserves it. Arragon wishes that all the positions of rank, dignity and offices were bestowed on the deserving, instead of being obtained dishonestly. If this happens, many low-ranking people would be separated out from the ranks of the truly honourable

5. Which casket did Arragon finally choose? What did he feel after making the choice?

Ans:  Arragon finally chooses the silver casket. After making the choice, Arragon is dumb-founded and very disappointed with what he finds in the casket. He pauses silently for a long time before speaking. He says that there is such a difference between that creature and the picture he hoped to see. He asks Portia whether he deserves no more than the head of a fool. He wants to know whether that is his prize and whether he deserves nothing more than that.

Extract IV

Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here.
With one fools head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu. I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my worth. 

1. After which incident does Arragon speak these words? In what mood is he? With which fool's head did he come to woo?

Ans:   Arragon speaks these words after opening the silver casket. He is in a mood of disappointment. He came to woo Portia with one foolish head of his own.

2. Which second head did he get? Briefly state what was written on the schedule attached to the second head?

Ans:    The second head he got was from the silver casket. The scroll attached to the second head says that silver metal of the casket was tested seven times by fire. A mind which never makes an error of judgment must be similarly tested seven times. Some people find their happiness in shadows and unreality. Their happiness is therefore only shadowy and unreal. There are many living fools whose foolishness is hidden by their silvery hair because they have the appearance of being venerable and wise. One of these is the fool’s head concealed in the silver casket. Arragon will always have a foolish head. He should now leave as his chance is over.

3.  Which casket doer the speaker choose? Why did he choose that casket?

Ans:  The speaker chooses the silver casket. The motto of the silver casket appeals to the speaker. It says ‘who chooses me shall get as much as he deserves’. He feels that he deserves Portia because of his inherited nobility.

4.  After the departure of the prince, what did Portia say about him?

Ans:   After the departure of the prince, Portia says that there is another moth which has burnt itself in the flame of the candle. These people, when they choose, the wisdom of their superficial knowledge makes them look utterly foolish and leads them to make the wrong choice.

5. State the old saying uttered by Nerissa after the prince's departure.  How does the Servant describe the young suitor who comes after the departure of the prince? 

Ans:   After the Prince’s departure, Nerissa utters an old saying “Hanging and winning goes by destiny”. It means that it is fate that decides what happens to one, whether one is to be hanged or to be wedded. It implies that it is destiny that has saved Portia from two unsuitable suitors and it is destiny that may give her a worthy suitor.
The servant describes the young suitor as a generous ambassador of love who has sent his attendant with costly gifts in addition to greeting and messages.

Extract V

Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify th' approaching of his lord,
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit (besides commends and courteous breath),
Gifts of rich value; yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.

1. Where does this scene take place? Who has alighted at the gate?

Ans:  This scene takes place in a room in Portia’s house at Belmont. Gratiano has alighted at the gate.

2. The visitor brought gifts of rich value. What does this indicate in the context of the scene?

Ans:  Gifts of rich value indicate the great regard and love Bassanio has for Portia.

3. Give the meaning of the last three lines of the extract.

Ans:    In the last three lines of the extract, the servant describes the young suitor, who comes after the departure of the prince as the one who is so generous an ambassador of love. Even a day in April, the sweetest spring day, coming to give people a foretaste of bright and bountiful summer, is not comparable to this gorgeous horseman, who comes before, announcing the arrival of his master.

4. What were the reactions of Portia and Nerissa to the announcement of a new suitor?

Ans: Portia asks the servant to stop speaking about the new suitor because he is so generous in his praise that she is dreading to hear him say that he is some relative of his. Then Portia tells Nerissa to come quickly along with her to meet this messenger of Cupid, who has arrived in such a courteous manner. Nerissa prays to Cupid, the god of love, that the lord announced be Bassanio if such is his will.

5. Why does Portia say to the servant to be silent and not to praise the young Venetian further? Explain how the plot makes progress in this scene. 

Ans: Portia tells the servant to be silent because he is too extravagant in his praises that she is dreading to hear him say that he is some relative of his.

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