Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 1 Scene 1

Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 1 Scene 1

Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 1 Scene 1 Questions and Answers, Passage Based Questions.

Merchant of Venice Act 1 Scene 1 Workbook Questions and Answers

Question 1.
In which mood do Antonio’s friends find him in ? What does Antonio say about it ?
Antonio’s friends find him in a sad mood. Antonio admits of his sadness but he says he does not know why he is sad. His β€˜ sadness is a source of trouble to him. His sadness tires him out and depresses him, and he finds himself a dull person.

Question 2.
What do we learn about Bassanio’s standard of living ?
Bassanio, being fashionable, is quite extravagant. He maintains a high standard of living which does not match his modest income. He wastes his money in a careless manner. He is under heavy debts but he is not willing to give up his lordly style of living, though he is anxious to get rid of all debts.

Question 3.
What does Bassanio say about Portia ? Why does he want to go to Belmont ?
Bassanio holds a very good opinion of Portia. He says that she is a beautiful and virtuous young lady living in Belmont. She has inherited much riches. Bassanio wants to go to Belmont to win her hand in marriage.

Question 4.
What does Salarino say about the cause of Antonio’s melancholy ?
Salarino tells Antonio that he is sad because his mind is filled with anxiety. He (Antonio) is worried about the high seas where his merchant ships are sailing. In a mood to flatter his rich friend he praises his majestic ships.

Question 5.
“I am Sir Oracle
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark”. (Lines 97-98)
When does Gratiano utter these words, and in which context ? What does he mean to say ?
Gratiano, one of Antonio’s friends, utters these words when Antonio remarks that he feels he is destined to play a sad role on the stage of life. He says that some persons pretend to look wise by keeping quiet. They consider themselves to be oracles, too sure of their wisdom, who prove to be foolish when they open their mouth.

Question 6.
‘His reasons are as two
grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff’ (Lines 118-119)
Who speaks these lines and, about whom ?
Bassanio speaks these lines about his friend Gratiano in his absence. He feels that he speaks too much. Rational words in his speech, according to him, are like two food grains in a lot of (two bushels) chaff.

Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers Act 1 Scene 1 Passage Based Questions

Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow :

Antonio :
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad :
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or come by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
Salarino :
Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
There, where your argosies with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt’sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

(i) Who is Antonio ? Where is he ? What is his state of mind ?
Answer: Antonio is a rich businessman. Along with his friends he is in a street of Venice. He is sad.

(ii) What is it that makes him sad, according to him ?
Answer: According to Antonio, the feeling of sadness is really depressing. He does not know from where he got it and what is made of and how it began. He admits that sadness has turned him into a dull man.

(iii) Who is Salarino ? What has he to say about Antonio’s melancholy ?
Answer: Salarino is one of Antonio’s friends. According to him, Antonio is sad because he is worried about his ships sailing on the sea.

(iv) What does Antonio say about his ships ? What contradiction do his words convey later ?
Answer: Antonio is not worried about his ships. It is so because his ventures are not limited to one ship or to one place. Moreover, his financial status does not depend on the business transaction of only this year. Strangely, later when his ships are reported to have perished, he goes totally bankrupt and has nothing left to pay back his loan.

(v) What is the dramatic significance of Antonio’s melancholy ?
Answer: Antonio’s melancholy is dramatically significant. At the very outset, it creates the mood of the play. We are prepared for the tragic events that are to- plunge Antonio and all his associates into a deep crisis.

Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow :

Bassanio :
In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way with more advised watch,
To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost; but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.

(i) What has Antonio learnt about Bassanio ? What does Bassanio say ?
Answer: Antonio has learnt that Bassanio is going on a journey for the sake of a lady. He wants to know who the lady is. Bassanio, instead of responding to the question, refers to his squandering of a lot of money to maintain a lordly style of living. He says that he owes Antonio a lot of money which he took as loans in the past, and he declares that he hopes to pay all his debts soon.

(ii) What tells you that Antonio is a selfless friend of Bassanio ?
Answer: Despite the fact that Bassanio has not paid ‘ back what he owes him, he is ready to help and support any of his plans with his money, his body and all that he has. It shows that he is a selfless friend and a generous person.

(iii) Why does Bassanio refer to his childhood sport of arrows ?
Answer: Bassanio refers to his childhood sport in which he would get his lost arrow by shooting another in the direction of the lost one. His purpose is to tell Antonio that if he gets another loan from Antonio he shall be able to get so much money by his new plan that he will repay his old as well as new loan.

(iv) What is Bassanio’s plan ?
Answer: Bassanio wants to take a loan from Antonio in order to present himself as a suitable suitor to Portia, a beautiful rich lady of Belmont. He adds that various suitors from different lands are coming to win her hand.

(v) What impression do you form of Bassanio ?
Answer: We feel that Bassanio is a careless, extravagant man. He seems to be selfish in his plan to marry a rich lady so that he may also become rich. This negative impression about him is, however, removed from our minds slowly as the play advances. His sterling qualities as a sincere friend and a devoted husband come to the fore.

Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow :

Antonio :
Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year :
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.
Why, then you are in love.
Antonio :
Fie, fie!
Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad,
Because you are not merry: and ’twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time :
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,

(i) Who are Salanio and Salarino ? What are they worried about ?
Answer: Salanio and Salarino are Antonio’s friends. They find Antonio inexplicably sad. They are worried about his sadness because he looks almost always sad. They try to guess the reason of his sadness. Salanio feels that he is sad because he is worried about his ships while Salarino thinks he is sad because he is in love.

(ii) What is it that is denied by Antonio ? What claims does he make ? In what sense do his claims prove to be wrong later ?
Answer: Antonio denies that he is worried about his ships. He claims that he has more than one ship and that they are sent to different parts of the world. His claims seem to be wrong or absurd when it is reported later that he has lost all his ships and has gone bankrupt.

(iii) What do the words “Fie, fie !” reveal about Antonio ?
Answer: Salarino, in trying to arrive at some conclusion about Antonio’s melancholy, says that he is sad because he is in love. Antonio denies it vehemently and wonders how he has arrived at such an absurd suggestion. His words show that he is a practical, unromantic sort of person.

(iv) What makes Salarino refer to two-headed Janus ? What suggestion does he want to make ?
Answer: Salarino refers to the two-headed Roman god, Janus, only to say that there are two kinds of persons in this world β€” the non- serious and the serious. He wants to suggest that Antonio belongs to the category of serious persons.

(v) What is the dramatic significance of Antonio’s melancholy ?
Answer: Antonio’s melancholy which remains baffling seems to be innate in his character. It strikes the keynote of the play. His melancholy is ominous, and prepares us for the oncoming trouble.

Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow :

There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress’d in a opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say, ‘I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!’

(i) In whose company is Gratiano ? What has provoked him to give a long lecture ?
Answer: Gratiano is in the company of his friends : Antonio, Bassanio, Lorenzo, Salanio and Salarino. Antonio has remarked that he is destined to play a sad role in life. This comment of Antonio provokes Gratiano to give a long lecture.

(ii) Why do some people, according to Gratiano, try to look serious ?
Answer: According to Gratiano, some people try to look serious so that the world should regard them as wise persons. They want to be passed for oracles. They want no one should interrupt them when they speak.

(iii) Whom is Gratiano criticising indirectly ?
Answer: Gratiano’s target of criticism is Antonio who, he feels, remains serious and quiet, perhaps to get a reputation for wisdom, which is not desirable. He believes one should enjoy life as it is.

(iv) Later in the scene Gratiano says he will continue his speech. When are the friends meeting again ? How does the meeting become important ?
Answer: Gratiano says he will continue his speech, which shows that he is talkative. He thinks he will complete his speech at the meeting of friends at dinner time. The meeting at dinner becomes important because Bassanio has invited their arch-rival and enemy Shylock to it for dinner.

(v) What impression does Gratiano leave on Antonio and his friends ? Why does he leave abruptly ? β€˜
Answer: Gratiano does not leave a good impression on Antonio or Bassanio. Bassanio clearly tells Antonio that rational words in his talk are like two grains in two bushels of chaff. Gratiano leaves abruptly as he feels he should leave Antonio and Bassanio alone.

Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow :

Bassanio :
In Belmont is a lady richly left;
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato’s daughter, Brutus’ Portia:
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her seat of Belmont
Colchos’ strand, And many
Jasons come in quest of her.
0 my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate!

(i) Who lives in Belmont ? How has Bassanio got interested in her ?
Answer: A very beautiful and rich lady, Portia, lives in Belmont. Bassanio has got interested in her as he has received many ‘silent’ messages of love from her. He feels that she is in love with him.

(ii) What tells you that Portia is a centre of attraction for many young people ?
Answer: According to Bassanio, Portia’s reputation as a rich, beautiful lady has spread far and wide. A number of eligible bachelors are reaching Belmont to try their luck in quest of her.

(iii) How does Bassanio describe Portia ?
Answer: Bassanio says that Portia is beautiful and rich. She also possesses all qualities of head and heart. In no way is she inferior to the well-known Portia, the daughter of the Roman senator, Cato and wife of the still more famous Brutus.

(iv) What is the significance of the allusion to Jason and the golden fleece ?
Answer: Jason was one of the Greek heroes in search of the golden fleece. Jason put his life into danger to get the golden fleece. According to Bassanio, many brave persons, like Jason, are risking everything of theirs to get Portia who is as rare and valuable as the golden fleece.

(v) What is the purpose of Bassanio in telling about Portia to Antonio ? How does he succeed in getting Portia as his wife ?
Answer: Bassanio wants to go to Belmont in style to woo Portia. He wants Antonio to lend him three thousand ducats for the purpose. Later, he succeeds in his mission by choosing the right casket at the lottery of caskets designed by Portia’s late father.

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