Questions and Answers from The Merchant of Venice Act 3 Scene 3 by William Shakespeare

Structured Questions from Act 3 Scene 3 of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Questions and Answers from The Merchant Of Venice ACT 3 SCENE 3

Shylock : 
I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond: 
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. 
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause, 
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs : 
The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder, 
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond 
To come abroad with him at his request.
Antonio :  I pray thee, hear me speak. 
Shylock :  I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: 
I'll have my bond, and therefore speak no more. 
I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield 
To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond. 

1. To whom are these words spoken? When? Who else is with the characters? Where are they?


These words are being spoken to Antonio, when he requests Shylock to listen to him. Solanio and the jailor are with them. They are in a street in Venice.

2. In what state of mind is Shylock, now? What has he accused the jailer of, a little while earlier?


Shylock is excited and very keen to take his revenge against Antonio. He keeps on repeating, I'll have the bond'. He has accused the jailor of showing partiality towards Antonio by allowing him to come out of the jail.

3. Explain 'I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, to shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield to Christian intercessors'. Earlier he tells the listener to be beware of his fangs. Why?


The line means that Shylock will not become a soft and stupid fool to shake his head and relent to forgive Christian pleaders. Earlier he says that Antonio had called him a dog and now he must suffer the dog's bite.

4. Why and when does the listener say, 'Let him alone'?


When Solanio comments that the Jew is the most heartless dog, Antonio says that there is no use pleading in front of the blood-thirsty Shylock.

5. Why is Shylock after his life, according to the speaker?


According to Antonio, Shylock is after his life as he had rescued many people from the Jew's clutches by helping with his money. So Shylock has been deprived of his forfeiture many a time; therefore, the Jew hates him and he is after his life to take revenge.

6. Why can't the Duke save the speaker?


The Duke can't save the speaker, as he has to abide by the strict laws of Venice. If he goes against justice, Venice will lose its credibility among foreign traders and this will affect its trade and prosperity.

7. How does the scene end? Bring out the significance of the scene.


The scene ends on a sad note with Antonio losing all hope for his life. His last wish is to meet Bassanio, his best friend. This is the preparation for the trial scene that follows. The audience is prepared for Antonio's tragedy. This also gives a time gap for Bassanio to reach. The scene emphasizes the theme of friendship in which Antonio without any complaint submits to his fate.

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