ICSE Previous Papers with Solutions for Class 10 English-II 2002
Section A – Drama
The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Bassanio: Be assured you may.
Shylock: I will be assured I may; and that I may be assured. I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
Bassanio: If it please you to dine with us.
Shylock: Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto? Who is he comes here?
(i) Where are Bassanio and Shylock at this time? What is the purpose of their meetting? 
(ii) Why does Bassanio say, “Be assured you may?” What has Shylock said earlier about Antonio’s ventures? 
(iii) What reply does Shylock give to Bassanio’s invitation? 
(iv) What does Shylock say ‘aside’ about Antonio when he enters the scene? 
(v) What Biblical allusion does Shylock make while speaking to Bassanio in the extract? 
(i) Bassanio and Shylock are at a-public place in Venice. Bassanio meets Shylock so that he might borrow three thousand ducats for three months from Shylock on the personal security of Antonio and thus might fulfil his requirement of money for going Belmont and trying his luck in wooing Portia to marry him.
(ii) When Bassanio approaches Shylock to ask for loan of three thousand ducats for three months on Antonio’s surety, Shylock weighs the risk involved in advancing the money and depicts the risks in view of Antonio’s investments. He tells Bassanio that despite all these risks to his capital Antonio’s surety is acceptable. At this Bassanio consoles him saying that he (Shylock) should be assured that there is no risk to money he (Shylock) is going to lend him (Bassanio).
About Antonio’s ventures, Shylock says that Antonio has invested all his capital in trading by sea-going ships. But the ships can come to harm because of the vulnerability of the material they are made of or due to the error committed by men. He further adds that there are other risks to which these investments are exposed such as rats which can cause harm at sea or land and the pirates at the sea and thieves on land who too can cause great damage and there are also natural hazards of storms and rocks.
(iii) When Bassanio requests Shylock to dine with them, he refuses to accept his invitation saying that he will not like to smell the pork hnd eat the flesh of that evil animal into which the devil was put by Jesus of Nazareth. He further adds that he is prepared to have business dealings, social dealings and such other dealings with them (Christians) but he is not prepared to eat or practise religious rites with them.
(iv) When Antonio enters the scene, Shylock, in a soliloquy, gives vent to his loathing with which he regards him, Shylock is bitter because Antonio lends money without interest and thus spoils his business as a usurer. He is also bitter because Antonio hates his sacred nation and constantly chides him for changing interest.
(v) When Bassanio asks Shylock to home dinner with them, Shylock contemptuously turns down Bassonio’s request. Speaking to him ironically, he says that he should come to dine in order to smell pork which is prohibited in Judaism. He says that Jesus Christ who hails from Nazareth had made the devil to live in the swine.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Shylock: My deeds upon my head ! I crave the law.
The penalty and forefeit of my bond.
Portia: Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bassanio: Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum : ………….
………….And, I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority :
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of this will.
(i) Where are Shylock, Bassanio and Portia at this time? Why are they there? Why does Shylock say, “My deeds upon my head!” 
(ii) What does Bassanio go on to say immediately after “Yea, twice the sum.”? 
(iii) What does Bassanio mean by, “Wrest once the law to your authority : To do a great right, do a little wrong”? What reply does Portia give? 
(iv) How does Shylock react to Portia’s reply? Who reacts in a similar way as Shylock, later in the scene? What does that person say when Portia asks Shylock to “Down therefore and beg mercy of the Duke”? 
(v) What is your opinion of Shylock in this scene? 
(i) Shylock, Bassanio and Portia are present in the court of Duke. The repeated pleading by Antonio’s friends and even the Duke himself fail to melt Shylock’s heart, so there is no option but to refer the case to the highest legal authority of the state. Shylock is not least influenced by the forceful plea of Portia for showing mercy for Antonio. He says that he is prepared to suffer the punishment of his sinful deeds and still demands the implementation of the cluase of forfeiture of the bond and penalty for not paying in time. He says so because he seems to be firm to revenge upon Antonio.
(ii) When Portia asks if Antonio is not able to repay the debt, Bassanio replies that he is prepared to give the amount in the court on behalf of Antonio and he is also ready to offer Shylock twice the amount of the debt. He further says that if Shylock is not agreeable to accept it, he (Bassanio) is prepared to pay him ten times the amount and if he fails to do that he is willing to offer his head, hands and heart as forfeit.
(iii) Bassario means by saying that if even this amount (ten times money) does not satisfy the Jew, it becomes clear that malice and not honesty has taken hold of the Jew against the life of Antonio. He further adds that in that case he requests the court to misinterpret the law for a while to do a great right and noble thing of saving a precious life and do a little wrong of depriving the Jew of his mischievous design. At this, Portia refuses to do so saying that there is no yower in Venice which can deny an established decree and if it is done it will set a bad precedent and many wrongs will be committed on account of this.
(iv) When Portia replies Bassanio that twisting the law once will invite many wrongs,Shylock feels great happiness to have this and he praises Portia calling her an intelligent Daniel. Gratiano also reacts in similar way as Shylock later in the scene. When Portia asks Shylock to go down on his knees and beg forgiveness from the Duke, Gratiano advises Shylock to seek permission that he may commit suicide by hanging himself. He (Gratiano) further adds that as his (Shylock’s) entire property stands forfeited to the state of Venice and he has not been left with enough money to buy a string to hang him with, he has to be hanged at the state expense.
(v) Shylock walks out of the court of the Duke of Venice as a broken old man. We feel that he has brought his troubles upon himself. He insists on the letter of the law, and it is precisely by the letter of the law, he is defeated and made to drink the cup of humiliation. He wants to take the life of another man by way of gratifying the passion of vengeful hatred which becomes an obsession with him through his.
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