Workbook Answers from The Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 2 Scene 9 ICSE

Extract 1 from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene 9

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:

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

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

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. He explicitly kept the last condition at the end of the scene.


3. 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?

It is not wise to arrange marriages through a lottery system where chance plays a significant role. Portia initially feels that her fate is sealed by the lottery of caskets designed by her father. However, later she accepts her father’s will and asserts that she will abide by it and would remain a virgin like Diana if no suitor wins her in marriage. 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.


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

Prince Arragon is too proud and self-opinionated. While making his selection, he calls the common people as 'fool multitude’ and again 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 2 from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene 9

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

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?

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 rook/rode?

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 mid rani of casualty: Open to disaster and In the very path of danger.

(b) rank me with the barbarous multitudes: 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?

The theme of appearance and reality is brought out in the choice of caskets. Arragon rejects the lead casket calling it base lead because of its dull and plain appearance. He says lead must present a more attractive appearance than it does before he gives or risks anything for it. He rejects the gold casket saying he will not chose what many people desire. He will not put himself at the level of ignorant common people. The -.word 'deserves' meaning 'merit' on the silver casket attracts Arragon and he selects it.

Extract 3 from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene 9

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

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?

Words on the inscription on the silver casket appeal to Aragon 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?

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?

Arragon further 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?

Arragon finally chooses the silver casket. After making the choice, Aragon 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 4 from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene 9

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

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?

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 toot'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?

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?

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 lead them to make the wrong choice.


5. State the old saying uttered by Nerissa after the prince's departure.

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 cantors and it is destiny that may give her a worthy suitor.

Extract 5 from The Merchant of Venice Act II Scene 9

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

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?

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.

ln the last three lines, the servant says that he has not seen 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 messenger, who rides in advance of his master.


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

Portia asks the servant to slop speaking 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?

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 hat.


6. Explain how the plot makes progress in this scene.

The plot of the play makes further progress in this scene. This scene, the second of the casket scenes, is important because it fills up the interval of the three months between the signing up of the bond and the forfeiture. It also seems to reveal the wisdom of the device of caskets because it shows that the results are not a mere lottery. It proves that only the person, who rightly loves, will choose rightly. This scene also, reveals to the audience which is the right casket. It will heighten the suspense during Bassanio's selection later. This scene also keeps up the theme of appearance and reality.

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