ICSE Previous Papers with Solutions for Class 10 English-II 1999
Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Portia: Go, draw aside the curtains, and discover
The several caskets to this noble prince.
(The curtains are drawn back)
Now make your choice.
Morocco: Some god direct my judgement! Let me see :
I will survey the inscriptions back again.
(i) Where are Portia and Morocco at this time? 
(ii) Which are ‘the several caskets’? What are the inscriptions that Morocco has just read on ‘the several caskets’? 
(iii) Why does Morocco say: ‘Some god direct my judgement!’? What are the conditions Morocco had to abide by, before making his choice of the caskets? 
(iv) Morocco later says, ‘As much as I deserve’. What does he deserve? 
(v) Which casket does Morocco finally choose? What two reasons does he give for his choice? What do these reasons reveal about his character? 
(vi) State clearly what you feel for Morocco at the end of this scene. 
(i) At this time, Portia and Morocco are seen in a room in Portia’s house in Belmont. As the curtain lifts, Portia and the Prince of Morocco arrive along with their train to the flourish of carnets.
(ii) The Prince approaches the three gold, silver and lead caskets. The gold casket has the inscription “who chooses me shall gain what many men desire”. The silver casket has the inscription “who chooses me shall get as much as he deserves”. The lead casket has the inscription “who chooses me must give and risk all that he has”.
(iii) Portia tells the Prince that one of the caskets contains her picture. She further says that if he succeeds in choosing that one, she will be his. The Prince feels great confusion in choosing the right casket, so he invokes the gods to help him. Before Prince going to choose the casket, Portia puts a condition which is to be applied at f any cost. She tells him that he has to take an oath before making selection that if he makes the wrong choice, he will never again ask a woman to marry him.
(iv) He analyses the inscription on the casket of silver which promises the reward according to the worth of the chooser. The Prince makes a self-assessment and concludes that, in all fairness, he deserves to get Portia. He thinks that he is a royal prince by birth so he deserves her by the right of his birth. Portia is very rich and so he deserves her in this also. Portia is exquisitely beautiful and very talented : accomplished and virtuous. Here also he deserves because he is also extremely handsome as the most beautiful maidens of his kingdom covet him. He is valiant and virtuous also. So in his opinion he is most suitable and deserving candidate for Portia’s hand.
(v) The Prince ultimately decides to choose the gold casket to acquire what all men desire. To him lead is too ordinary a method to contain the portrait of someone as beautiful as Portia. He rejects silver because it is one tenth the value of gold. Morocco chooses the casket for its outward appearance, and his physical desire for Portia matches with the inscription on the scroll.
(vi) We find that the prince has no inward beauty, dnd has little time for Portia’s inner strength, wit and intelligence. His vanity and arrogance prompt his choice for him.”
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Duke: With all my heart : some three or four of you Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Clerk (reads): ‘Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of your letter I am very sick, but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthazar. I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the Merchant ……’
(i) Who is referred to as ‘him,’ in the second line of this extract? Why has this person come to this place? 
(ii) What is meant by ‘courteous conduct to this place’? 
(iii) Who is Dr. Bellario? Why did the Duke send a messenger to him? What request does Dr. Bellario make to the Duke regarding the ‘young doctor of Rome’ at the end of his letter? 
(iv) What is meant by ‘controversy’? How did the controversy arise? 
(v) What does the ‘young doctor of Rome’ say about the nature of the controversy a little later? What request does the ‘young doctor of Rome’ make to Shylock regarding the ‘controversy’? 
(vi) From what happens later in this scene, what is your opinion of the ‘young doctor of Rome’? Give a justification for your opinion. 
(i) In the second line of this extract, Portia is referred to as ‘him’. Portia appears in the court in the costume of a male lawyer. She arrives at the court of the Duke in Venice to save the life of Antonio who is badly entrapped by Shylock, a Jew.
(ii) Nerissa brings a letter from Dr. Bellario at Padua. This letter recommends a young and learned lawyer to the court. Nerissa also tells the Duke that the lawyer is waiting quite close to know his (Duke’s) decision whether he will permit him or not. At this Duke permits him most readily and asks some three or four persons to go and bring him to the court with due courtesy.
(iii) Bellario is a learned doctor of law of Padua. The Duke sent a messenger to bring him to settle the question about law. He writes a letter to the Duke for showing his inability to join the case due to his illness. In his letter, he says that he had a friendly visit of a young doctor of Rome called Balthazar and made him aware of the case and the dispute between the Jew and the merchant Antonio. He futher adds that they consulted many law books together and he knows his opinion on the case, which improved by his own learning, the extent of which he does not have words to praise, so he is coming instead of him. In his letter, Dr. Bellario requests the Duke that his lack of years should not be considered a reason for not having the highest respect for him, for he (Bellario) has never known so young a man with such profound thinking and the actual trial will his true worth even better.
(iv) The ‘controversy’ means the rise of dispute between the Jew and the merchant, Antonio. Bassanio approaches a rich Jewish money lender for three thousand ducats for three months on Antonio’s surety. Shylock asks Antonio to, playfully, sign a bond with the condition that if he is unable to repay the amount in three months, Shylock will have the right to cut off a pound of flesh from his body. Antonio signs such a bond despite Bassanio’s objection. A rumour spreads that Antonio is going to meet utter disaster. Upon his inability to repay the loein in time Shylock has Antonio in his vice grip. Shylock brings this case in the court of the Duke of Venice. He demands r justice from the Duke. All efforts, requests and offers of many several times the actual sum fail to persuade Shylock from proceeding to claim a pound of Antonio’s flesh. An inferno of hate and vengeance—personal, religious and professional—is blazing inside Shylock and he is adamant on getting justice according to his bond.
(v) ‘The young doctor of Rome’ (Portia disguised as a male lawyer.) The Duke asks Portia if she is aware of the dispute between the Jew and Antonio which is under consideration of the court at present. At this Portia replies him that she has already been informed of the complete details of the case. Then turning to Shylock, she says r that his suit is really very preculiar in nature but it is being followed in such a lawful manner that the Venetian law can not refuse its implementation and resist him from L following the course he has decided upon. Portia makes appeal to Shylock to accept twice the sum for settling this dispute and to give up his cruel intention of cutting a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. She also requests him to show merciful and generous attitude toward Antonio.
(vi) When ‘the young doctor of Rome’ (Portia) finds that Shylock is firm on his decision, she admits Shylock’s claim and makes him jubilant. But as Shylock prepares to cut a pound of Antonio’s flesh, she restrains him saying that he can cut a pound of Antonio’s flesh — neither more nor less — and that too without shedding a drop of blood because the bond does not give him any blood. Thus Shylock is caught in his own trap. Portia relentlessly applies one provision of law after another and vanquishes Shylock completely. Portia as a ‘young doctor of law’ shows her intellectual strength and the depth and force of her moral grandeur. We find that she is eloquent, dignified, unfailing in knowledge, impartial and has a noble anxiety to save Shylock from his own inhumanity.
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