Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 2, Scene 2 – ICSE Class 10 & 9 English
Passage – 1 (Act II, Sc.II, Lines 1-28)
LAUNCELOT : Certainly, my conscience will allow me to run from this Jew my master. The devil is at my elbow and tempts me, saying to me,“Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot” or “good Gobbo” or “good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, get going, run away.” My conscience says, “No; be careful, honest Launcelot, be careful, honest Gobbo” or, as I said before, “honest Launcelot Gobbo, don’trun; scorn running with your heels.” Well, the most courageous devil tells me to pack. “Go!” says the devil; “Away!” says the devil. “For heaven’s sake, wake up a brave mind,” says the devil “and run.” Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me, “My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man’s son”— or rather “an honest woman’s son;”—because indeed my father experienced some things, earned some things, he had a kind of taste;—well, my conscience says, “Launcelot, don’t budge.” “Budge,” says the devil. “Don’t budge,” says my conscience. “Conscience, I say, you advise me well.” “Devil,” I say, “you advise me well.” To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, God save us all! is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should listen to the devil, who, deliver us from evil! is the devil himself. Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnate; and, in my conscience, my conscience is only a kind of hard conscience, to offer to advise me to stay with the Jew. The devil gives the more friendly advice: I’ll run, devil; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.
Word Meaning With Annotation
The fiend : Satan; the devil, scorn running with thy heels : “to take to one’s heels” is a colloquial phrase meaning “to take to flight.” Pack : depart. Via : ‘Take the road’, i.e. “Go!” hanging about the neck of : restraining, holding back. (Just as we might imagine a wife hanging about the neck of her husband, restraining him from some act.) God bless the mark : this expression was used as an apology for having used any coarse expression: here for having used the name of the devil, which was supposed to be unlucky.
Read the above passage and answer the following questions
What is forcing Launcelot to run away from the service of the Jew?
The devil tells Launcelot to run away from the service of the Jew.
What does his conscience urge him to do?
His conscience ugres him to stay on with the Jew.
What according to Launcelot, does his conscience do for him?
His conscience gives him good advice and asks him to stay on with the Jew.
Who would be ruling Launcelot if he were to run away from the Jew?
He would be ruled by the devil.
Whom does Launcelot decide to obey in the end?
He decides to obey the devil.
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