Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 5 – Passages with Reference to the Context – ICSE Class 10 & 9 English
Passage – 1
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 3-6)
Context : This is an allusion to a love-story of Greek mythology. Lorengo is speaking to Jessica in the famous moonlight Scene in Act V of Merchant of Venice.
Explanation : Lorenzo says that in such a moonlight night, Troilus must have climbed up to the walls of the city of Troy and breathed out passionate sighs in the direction of the Greek camps where his beloved Cressida lay asleep.
Passage – 2
(Act V, Sc. I, Lines 7-8)
Context : These lines are spoken by Jessica in The Merchant of Venice in the famous moonlight scene. Jessica and Lorenzo are talking to each other of love.
Explanation : Jessica says that in such a night. This be went to meet her lover but that, seeing the shadow of a lion, she ran away frightened though she had not seen the lion actually.
Passage – 3
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 9-11)
Context : These are Lorenzo’s words to Jessica in the famous moonlight scene in The Merchant of Venice.
Explanation : Lorenzo says that in such a night as this. Dido stood on the desolate sea-coast holding a willow branch and waving to her lover to come back to Carthage. (The willow is a symbol of disappointment in love.)
Passage – 4
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 58-65)
Context : These are Lorenzo’s words to Jessica in the famous moonlight scene of The Merchant of Venice.
Explanation : Lorenzo asks Jessica to look at the sky which is studded with stars. The stars appear to be like discs on the floor of heaven. Lorgnzo says that every planet or star, no matter how small it is, moves in its orbit, producing divine music. The angels in heaven hear and enjoy this music. The music of these spheres (or planets) mixes with the music produced by the bright-eyed angels. Thus, a sweet music exists in immortal souls. But as long as our souls are imprisoned in our bodies of clay, our ears cannot catch that music.
Passage – 5
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 71-74)
Context : These are Lorenzo’s words to Jessica in the famous moonlight scene of The Merchant of Venice. Jessica has said that she feels melancholy whenever she hears sweet music. Lorenzo says that music softens even the beasts.
Explanation : Even a herd of uncontrollable wild beasts or a group of young and untamed horses which gallop with big strides, neighing loudly and thus showing the passion of youth – even such wild creatures stop together suddenly with a gentle expression in their eyes when they hear the sound of a trumpet or any other musical sound. Thus, even wild beasts feel the influence of music.
Passage – 6
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 79-86)
Context : These lines are taken from The Merchant of Venice. Lorenzo and Jessica are talking to each other of moonlight and love, while music is being played in the garden at Belmont. Lorenzo here talks about the effect of music.
Explanation : Music, says Lorenzo, has a great appeal even for beasts. That is why, according to a Greek myth, Orpheus is said to have drawn trees, stones and rivers towards himself by the sweet music of his flute. Music has the power to melt even hard and cruel creatures. The man who can neither produce music himself nor is pleased by music has much evil in him. He who does not love music has in him seeds of treachery, deception and other crimes. Such a man is dull as night; his soul is as dark as hell (Erebus) ; and he is untrustworthy.
Passage – 7
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 93-97)
Context : This is a speech made by Portia on her return to Belmont from Venice. She sees from a distance a candle burning in her hall. Nerissa says that, when the moon was shining, the candle was not visible. Portia ; thereupon, makes this speech showing that a lesser light is eclipsed by a brighter light.
Explanation : Portia says that small things may seem important in the absence of great things but that when compared with great things, they are reduced to insignificance. A viceroy looks glorious as long as the sovereign is not near but, when the latter appears, the viceroy loses his glory just as a river flows towards ocean and loses itself in the ocean.
Passage – 8
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 102-108)
Context : These words are spoken by Portia to Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, Act V when the mistress and the maid have returned home from their visit to Venice. Portia says that the atmosphere has much to do with the effect of music.
Explanation : A thing acquires a greater value if it is done at a proper time. Even music becomes sweeter under certain circumstances, ; Atmosphere lends an additional charm to things. The cawing of a crow may be described as having the same sweetness as the song of a nightingale, if nobody is listening to them. If a nightingale were to begin singing during the day¬time when the geese are making noise, the nightingale’s song will sound no sweeter than the voice of a wren. In other words, even the song of a nightingale sounds sweeter at night because then the atmosphere is more favourable.
Passage – 9
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 147-150)
Context : These are Gratiano’s words to Portia in The Merchant of Venice in Act V when Nerissa takes her husband to task for having given away her ring. Portia asks Gratiano what the quarrel is about, and Gratiano makes this reply.
Explanation : Gratiano says that Nerissa is quarrelling with him about an ordinary gold ring which she had given him. He makes light of the ring by saying that the words inscribed on the ring were no more elegant than the words usually carved on a knife. Knives usually bear such prosaic mottoes as “love me and leave me not.” Nerrisa’s ring, according to him, bore no better a motto. He is trying to belittle the importance of the ring because he has given it away and he does not want that Nerissa should quarrel with him over it.
Passage – 10
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 203-207)
Context : These lines are part of Portia’s speech to Bassanio in Act V. of The Merchant of Venice. Bassanio has tried to explain the circumstances under which he felt compelled to give away Portia’s ring to the judge who decided Shylock’s case against Antonio. Bassanio has said that the judge would not take anything but the ring and that he found it impossible to resist the judge’s demand. Portia pretends not to be satisfied with Bassanio’s explanation.
Explanation : Portia says that she cannot believe that the judge could have been so unreasonable as to insist upon getting the ring. She says that if Bassanio had emphatically and forcefully told the judge that the ring was a sacred token ofhis wife’s love, the judge would not then have been so disregardful of Bassanio’s sentiments. She adds that she agrees with Nerissa in the latter’s view that the two men (Bassanio and Gratiano) gave away the rings to their mistresses in Venice. Portia is counterfeiting anger and is charging her husband with unfaithfulness towards her. All this is, of course, a part of the comedy of rings.
Passage – 11
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 60-65)
Context : In the Act of The Merchant of Venice, when Lorenzo comes to know that Portia and Jessica are coming back to Belmont, he asks his friends to bring forth music. In these lines he praises the value of music in a calm and still moonlit night. He says that there is a music in every part of Nature, even in the soul of man but we cannot appreciate it.
Explanation : Lorenzo says that every planet in the heaven moves in symmetry and harmony. They produce a music in her motion and sing like an angel in the company of young Cherubins. In the soul of men too there is such a music and harmony. But, our souls are covered with human flesh and blood so that we cannot hear that music. Music is eternal to nature and to human soul and we should try to catch it at certain moments.
Passage – 12
(Act V, Sc.I, Lines 89-91)
Context : These lines are spoken by Portia in the last Act of The Merchant of Venice. These lines are full of philosophical reflection.
Explanation : Portia says the light they see burning in the hall of her house is just a small candle that is burning, but we can see its light from a long distance. In the same way a noble deed shines in a wicked world. Just as a small candle spreads its light far and wide similarly good deeds stand out in this world full of evil.
For More Resources