DRAMAThe merchant of venice by william shakespeare PNU | College of Arts | Department of English Language and Literature | Second Year | Drama | Sarabdulaziz
The Mid-Term ExamI - The gold, silver, and lead caskets symbolize certain facts of life. Explain and givereasons why Portia’s father made it obligatory for suitor to choose correctly beforeproposing to his daughter. Also, what positive traits are revealed in Portia?II - What idea does Bassanio express when he discusses his boyhood experience with hisbow and arrow and why is this idea so relevant to his request to Antonio?||I - It is surprising that both Antonio and Portia are ﬁrst introduced to audience as sadmelancholic characters even though they have many privileges in life. Discuss.Compare between Bassanio’s and Portia’s point view about money with Shylock’s.both of Bassanio and Portia recognize the necessity money, but neither of them considersmoney to be of any value in itself. In their world of romantic and civilized cultivation, theyfeel that they don’t need yo be unduly concerned with money. For Shylock themoneylender, money constitutes his only defense against his oppressors.Why does Shylock hates Antonio?at the beginning of the play, he has only two real reasons for hating Antonio -he hatesAntonio because he is a Christian, but more important, he hates Antonio because Antoniolends money to people without charging interests.to these is added a shattering personal loss-he has lost his daughter, his only child, to aChristian, a friend of Antonio- making plausible his implacable desire for revenge againstall Venetian Christians in the person of man whom he has legally concerned: Antonio.What idea does Shylock express when he told Antonio and Bassanio about the biblicalstory of how Jacob increased his herd of sheep?citing the Book of Genesis, Shylock shows how different interpretations are the basis of hisreligious and personal differences with the Christians. The Christians believe that usury isimmoral because it is unnatural to breed money from money. But Shylock interprets theBible to say that charging interest is no different that Jacobs breeding of animals, whichChristian law would permit as totally natural.(Jacob was working as a shepherd for his uncle Laban, He cut a deal with Laban inwhich he got to keep any sheep that were born with a “streaked” color. Then he employeda magic trick to get all the sheep to breed streaked lambs, which hewas, by contract, entitled to keep for himself)Why is Jessica sad?she expresses her sorrow that Launcelot decided to leave his position as her father’sservant. “Our house is hell,” she says.Why Shylock wants the pound of ﬂesh?he wants the pound of ﬂesh for no rational reason. He wants it only because of “a lodgedhate and a certain loathing” for Antonio. He reveals clearly that his real motive has nothingto do with right or wrong, justice or injustice, but with his desire to destroy another humanbeing -a Christian who has publicly scorned and spit upon him.
What do the choice of casket made by the Prince of Morocco show about his ﬁtness tomarry Portia?Morocco is a straightforward soldier prince and rightly self-assured. He rejects the leadcasket as being not worth the high stakes or which he gambles. He ponders a long timeover the silver casket. The words ‘get as much as he deserves” intrigue him. He is quitesure that he deserves Portia; he deserves her “in birth,” “in fortune,” “in grace,” “in qualitiesof breeding,” and, in most of all, “in love.” Yet, ultimately, he rejects the silver casketbecause he refuses to believe that Portia’s father would “immure” a portrait of histreasured daughter in a metal “ten times undervalued [as] tried gold.” The prince reasonsthat a portrait of Portia -a “mortal, breathing saint,” a woman whom “all the world desire” -could only be within the golden casket. He chooses, therefore, the golden casket, hopingto ﬁnd an angel in a golden bed.” But he found the skull and the scroll.What do the choice of casket made by the Prince of Arragon show about his ﬁtness tomarry Portia?reviewing the inscriptions, he rejects the lead casket immediately because he thinks that itis no beautiful enough to give and risk all his possessions for. He also rejects the goldcasket because “what many men desire” may place him on the same level with “thebarbarous multitudes.” He thus chooses the silver casket, which bears the inscription,“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.” Arragon reviews his worth anddecides that he “will assume desert” -that is, he feels rightly deserves Portia. When heopens the silver casket, he ﬁnds within a picture of a fool’s head.A factor that we should be aware of in this entire scene is an absence of any evidence thatArragon has any love or even any affection, for Portia. Portia is “deserved.” Nowhere canwe discern even an inkling of any craving for her. The prince is rather bloodless.What do the choice of casket made by Bassanio show about his ﬁtness to marry Portia?Bassanio rejects the golden casket; it is a symbol for all “outward shows”; likewise, herejects the silver casket, calling it a “common drudge/ “Tween man and man.” YetBassanio, who does love Portia, will choose the casket which appears to be the leastvaluable; in reality, it will turn out to be the most valuable. Thus the ability to choose andand to distinguish between what appears to be valuable and what really is valuabledepends not so much on intelligence -Shylock is far more intelligent than Antonio orBassanio- but on something deeper and more intangible. In this play, that certainintangible is love; it is not glory (Morocco), nor nobility of social position (Arragon), norwealth (Shylock), but love for another human being, which Bassanio and Portia clearlyoffer to one another.