ICSE Previous Papers with Solutions for Class 10 English-II 2001
Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
But mercy is above this sceptred sway.
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice.
(i) Why does Portia speak about mercy in the extract? 
(ii) Give the meaning of the following :
But Mercy is above this sceptred sway.
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings. 
(iii) Who else had appealed for mercy earlier? What was the outcome of the appeal? 
(iv) One should stand for justice. Referring only to the extract, state why, according to Portia, mercy should season justice. 
(v) When Shylock refuses to show mercy, what legal tactics does Portia use to free Antonio? 
(i) In the court of Duke, Antonio and Shylock are asked to appear before her. Portia tells Shylock that although he has brought a very strange suit, get the suit is perfectly in accord with the laws of Venice and she tells Antonio also that he is in danger of his life. Then she appeals to Shylock to be merciful, but Shylock refuses to show mercy for Antonio and remains firm on his legal bond signed by Antonio. Hence Portia tries to persuade him by explaining the moral virtue of mercy.
(ii) While moralising the virtue of mercy before Shylock, Porita says that mercy is the greatest quality in the greatest of men. The person who are powerful and resourceful have more opportunities and means to show mercy. It is proportionate to a man’s power. She further adds that it suits the king better than his crown because his sceptre shows his temporal power which is worldly and superficial and such an authority inspires fear of the glory and power of the kings. But the mercy in a king gives him more permanent power and enables him to rule over the hearts of his subjects.
(iii) Earlier the Duke had tried his best to convince Shylock to show mercy for Antonio and not to adopt cruel attitude towards Antonio. Bpt, for Shylock this appeal proved futile. He tells the Duke that he has already informed him qhqut his intentions. He says that he has taken an oath to extract the penalty incurred by the forfeiture of the bond and he prefers dead flesh to three thousand ducats.
(iv) Portia is disguised as a lawyer and tries to persuade Shylock, the quality of mercy. She tells him that mercy inspires the feeling of love and reverence. According to her if justice is administered with mercy, it is moderated and tempered. Then justice imparted becomes less cruel. When a king shows not only justice but also mercy, he appears to be God himself.
(v) When Shylock refuses to show mercy for Antonio, Portia admits the legality of his claim and Shylock’s happiness soars.Them Portia asks Shylock to arrange a surgeon at hand to save Antonio from bleeding to death. At this Shylock reminds her that no such condition is stipulated in his bond. Portia now turns this insistence against him and tells him that as per the bond he can only have a pound of flesh from Antonio’s chest, but no single drop of blood should fall on the ground. Thus Shylock is entrapped in his own net. Now he shows his willingness to accept three times of money, but he is deprived of it and also loses his property. In this way, she succeeds to make Antonio free from the cruel trap of Shylock.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow
Lorenzo: Madam, with all my heart,
I shall obey you in all fair commands.
Portia: My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
So fare you well till we shall meet again.
(i) Where are Lorenzo and Portia at this time? What ‘fair commands’ are given to Lorenzo? 
(ii) How does Lorenzo describe Portia in the beginning of the scene? 
(iii) What does Portia say to Lorenzo about the place where she is going? Where is she actually going and why? 
(iv) What order does Portia give to Balthazar a little later? 
(v) What information does Portia give to Nerissa? (In what mood is Portia when she is speaking to Nerissa?) 
(i) Lorenzo and Porita are in a room of Portia’s house in Belmont. Portia makes a sudden resolve to hasten to Venice with a daring scheme for the rescue of Antonio. She wants to take Nerissa with her, so she asks Lorenzo to hold the responsibility and management of the house until her husband returns. Lorenzo is at once ready to obey her honourable command with all his heart.
(ii) On hearing about Antonio’s troubles on account of Bassanio, her husband, Portia immediately sends him, with enough gold to reprey the debts many times over, to Venice to help Antonio out of his misfortune. After Bassanio’s departure Lorenzo praises Portia’s noble gesture and adds that if Portia, learns how nice, kind, generous and true Antonio to whom she has sent help, she will be more proud than she is now.
(iii) Portia tells Lorenzo that she has made a solemn vow to heaven to live in prayer and meditation, in only Nerissa’s company. She adds that there is a monastery two miles from here and there they will live. Actually she is going to the court of the Duke in Venice to rescue Antonio from the cruel trap of Shylock.
(iv) Portia, before setting out on her journey to Venice, orders Balthazar to take the letter and go as fast as a man is capable in getting to Padua. She asks him to give the letter to her cousin, Dr. Bellario and whatever papers and robes he may give him, he must bring them at once with all possible speed to the public ferry, over which the trade route to Vienna passes. She also orders him to waste no time in talking but go at once because she will be there before he arrives.
(v) Portia tells Nerissa that they are going to meet their husbands much sooner than they can ever expect to meet them. Nerissa, of course, does not understand what Portia means. Portia further says that they are going to change their female dress for the male dress. She adds that she will be able to present a smarter person than Nerissa in the male drees, because she will put on her knife and the belt more skilfully than Nerissa, and she will put on much greatef airs as a male personality than Nerissa can possible imitate. While speaking to Nerissa, Portia seems to be in a mood of making mischief.
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