ICSE Previous Papers with Solutions for Class 10 English-II 2000
Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Portia: O me the word ‘choose’! I may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike: so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.
(i) Where are Porita and Nerissa? Why are they there? 
(ii) Earlier, in what way did Nerissa try to cheer Portia? What was Portia’s reaction to what Nerissa had said? 
(iii) State in your own words what Portia means by ‘the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.’ 
(iv) Immediately after this extract, what reasons does Nerissa give to Portia to justify ‘the will of a dead father’? Do you think that the justification proved correct? Give reasons for your answer. 
(v) Towards the end of the scene, Portia affirms that she must abide by ‘the will of a dead father’. What does she say? From what she says, what opinion do you form of her? 
(i) Porita and Nerissa are in a room of Portia’s house in Belmont. In fact, Portia is greatly fed up with this life of affluence and luxury and she is not given the liberty of ‘ choosing her husband according to her own will. The matter of her marriage will be settled according to the will of her dead father. Nerissa tries to console her.
(ii) When Portia tells Nerissa that she is greatly tired of this wordly life living in the midst of luxuries and now she has lost her entire interest in such a life, Nerissa 1 tries to cheer her up saying that if she (Portia) had been poor in the same measure as she is rich, she would have been fed up with the life of scarcity and misery. She adds that it has been her (Nerissa’s) experience and observation so far that both rich and poor are dissatisfied with their present state, hence it is definitely an occasion for happiness to be neither too rich not too poor. Then she says that the man of great wealth leads a life of worries and becomes old sooner but a man of modest means . enjoys a longer life. At this Porita says that she has commented in a good and beautiful way.
(iii) Portia says that the old people preach instructions to the young, forgetting that such instructions are difficult to be carried out. She complains that it is very unkind of her father to leave no freedom of choice in her marriage. In fact, Portia has no alternative at all, for her dead father, from whom she has inherited all her wealth, had already bound her by his will regarding the method by which she ought to choose her husband. She thinks that in that case she will have to mercy with a man whom she does not know by his nature and behaviour and according to the will, she also has lost the chance of loving a man whom she likes.
(iv) After hearing the talks of gloominess from Portia, Nerissa tells her that her (Portia’s) father was very wise in restricting his daughter’s freedom of merriage by means of these caskets, because she (Nerissa) believes that anyone who could choose the right casket by correctly interpreting the inscription upon it should be regarded as a very desirable suitor because of his wise judgement in the selection of casket. Later it is found that the justification made by Nerissa proved correct. A right person named Bassanio whom Portia liked, succeeds in choosing the right casket and Portia feels unbounded joy to find such a husband who was true and sincere in love and friendship.
(v) Portia’s reply to Nerissa proves that she is deeply attached to her father. She respects his will and desires to be married only according to his will. She is determined not to violate her father’s will even if she has to pay a price by remaining unmarried. Another facet of Portia’s character that is revealed to us is her kindness. She bears no malice towards her suitors and prays to God to grant all of them a safe departure.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Shylock: How now Tubal ! What news from Genoa? Hast thou found my daughter?
Tubal: I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.
(i) Who is Tubal? What has been said about him a little earlier in the scene? 
(ii) What does Shylock say in response to Tubal’s words : ‘but I cannot find her’? 
(iii) What information does Tubal now give to Shylock concerning Antonio? State what Shylock tells Tubal expressing his reaction to what the latter has said. 
(iv) What instructions does Shylock give to Tubal at the end of their meeting? 
(v) What is your impression of Shylock as a father? Give reasons to justify your answer. 
(i) Tubal is a Jew and a friend of Shylock. When Tubal enters, Salanio says that mother Jew is coming. He says that a third person cannot be found who can match with Shylock and Tubal in wickedness unless devil himself becomes a Jew.
(ii) When Tubal appears in the scene, Shylock asks him what news he has brought from Genoa and if he has found his daughter. At this, Tubal replies him that he frequently went to the places where he learnt she was present, but he could not succeed in finding her. On hearing this, Shylock laments that she has eloped with his hand earned wealth. He is so angry that he wishes that her daughter to be lying dead at his foot with jewels she has taken with her in her ears and the ducats in her coffin.
(iii) Tubal tells Shylock that he (Tubal) heard in Genoa that Antonio’s ship which was coming from Tripolis, sank. To hear this Shylock, at first, thanks God for the loss of Antonio and then thanks Tubal for bringing such a good news. Then he tells Tubal that now he will exploit the situation and cause him great discomfort.
(iv) After knowing about the misfortune of Antonio, he feels unbounded joy and thinks the way of torturing Antonio. Then, he instructs Tubal to go and engage a lawyer for him and pay him (lawyer) in fedvance. He asks him again to engage the lawyer a fortnight before the date on which the bond expires. He tells him that if Antonio fails to repay the debt on the appointed day, he will cut this chest out of his body. He adds that if Antonio is not in Venice he will make profit of his choice. He then asks Tubal to go and meet him at their synagogue.
(v) Throughout the play, it is found that Shylock shows no love for her, which is surprising, since Jews , have the highest regard for the sanctity of the family. Later he wants her daughter dead at his feet, the jewels in her ear and the ducats she robbed from him, in her coffin. Whether his curses toward her daughter and his restraint in love for her are justified on not, depends on one’s own sense of values.
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