Merchant of Venice ACT 4 Scene 2 Question Answers
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Extract I1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it: We'll away to-night,
And be a day before our husbands home:
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo
Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en.
My Lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat Your company at dinner.
1. Which deed is referred to in the extract? What are the contents Why will Lorenzo be happy to have the deed?Ans: The deed referred to in the extract is the legal document prepared by Portia. The contents of the deed are that Shylock’s property will go to Lorenzo and Jessica after Shylock’s death. Lorenzo will be happy with this deed as it is beneficial to him and Jessica
2. Give the meaning of:
(a) Inquire the Jew's house out.
(b) you are well o'erta'en.
Ans: (a) Find out the house of Shylock. Portia asks Nerissa to ask someone to direct her to Shylock’s house.
(b) I am glad to have overtaken you.
3. Where is Portia going that night? Why should she reach home before her husband? Under what pretext was she away from home?
Ans: Portia is going to Belmont that night. She should reach home before her husband so that he may not doubt her absence from Belmont. She was away from home under the pretext of going to a monastery to do religious exercises and meditation till the arrival of their husbands.
4. What comedy follows later because of Bassanio having given the ring to Portia?
Ans: In Act V Scene I, the comedy occurs due to Bassanio having given the ring to the lawyer. Portia accuses Bassanio for this saying if he knew the special qualities of the ring, the virtue of the one who gave the ring and his honour in keeping vows, he should not have parted with it. He defends himself saying that he parted with it reluctantly and gave it to the lawyer, who saved Antonio’s life.
5. How does the ring episode become a part of the love episode? How does the ring-episode add humour to the play?.
Ans: Portia and Nerissa, after their wedding, give rings to their husbands, Bassanio and Gratiano respectively, as a token of their love and take a promise from them to never part with it. However, after the Trial scene, Portia and Nerissa trick their husbands into giving them the rings. They pretend to be offended and blame their husbands for faithlessness. It is only when Portia reveals her and Nerissa’s identity and shows the rings, the lovers are united again and there is merriment and joy. Thus, the ring episode becomes a part of the love episode.
The ring episode adds humour in the play in the manner in which Portia and Nerissa disguised as a lawyer and her assistant, respectively, manage to trick their husbands into giving them their rings. Portia’s indulgence in playful jesting over the ring provides comic relief and adds humour in the play.
Ans: By saying ‘That cannot be’, Portia is referring to Bassanio’s request to her to have dinner with him. Portia tells Gratiano that it is not possible for her to accept Bassanio’s request to come for dinner. She says so because she is in the disguise of a lawyer and did not want Bassanio to know her identity at this stage. Secondly, she wants to return to Belmont before the arrival of her husband.
2. Who is the youth' referred to in the extract? Why should the youth be shown Shylock's house?Ans: The ‘youth’ referred to here is Nerissa. The youth should be shown Shylock’s house so that she could give the draft deed to Shylock for his signature.
Ans: Nerissa is planning to get the ring from Gratiano. Portia says that their husbands will keep swearing that they have given the rings to men as a gift but Portia and Nerissa will contradict them and swear just as vehemently that they are deceiving them. This incident provides a comic effect in the play in Act V Scene I. Both Nerissa and Portia accuse their husbands for parting with their rings. But Bassanio and Gratiano swear that they have given the rings to boys and that too to express their gratitude to them for their services in saving Antonio from Shylock. They swear never to part with the rings again. The ring-episode provides comic relief after the serious trial scene.
3. What trick is Nerissa planning? How would Portia and Nerissa challenge their husbands about their rings? How will this incident later on have a comic effect in the play?
4. How does Act IV of the play end?
5. Comment on the leadership shown by Portia in Act IV. How does it prepare the audience for the final Act?Ans: Portia’s leadership quality comes forth the best in Act IV. She disguises herself as a lawyer and pleads for Antonio in the court, to save him from the clutches of Shylock. At first, she appeals to Shylock for mercy. But when Shylock remains unmoved, she appeals to his greed. When this also does not work, she asks Shylock to go ahead with the bond and cut Antonio’s pound of flesh. But she finally changes the direction of the case by stating that the bond does not allow Shylock to shed a single drop of blood in the process of taking the flesh. Portia by her superb leadership quality, saves Antonio from Shylock’s bond, ensures the happiness of Bassanio and herself and secures the future of Lorenzo and Jessica by getting Shylock’s property for Jessica. Finally, she manages to get Bassanio’s ring as a gratitude for saving Antonio.
Portia’s act of getting Bassanio’s ring prepare the audience for the ring episode and the final resolution of the play in Act V.