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The Merchant of Venice

The questions for this worksheet have been taken from: The Merchant of Venice, 2005, Black Cat Publishing, Genoa, Canterbury. (Some of the questions have been altered to accommodate the educational purposes for the Shakespeare course.)

Chapter 1: Venice and Belmont


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Why does Bassanio need money? (1) Although Antonio is a rich merchant, why can he not give Bassanio money? (1) What solution does Antonio offer Bassanio so that he can get some money? (1) Following her fathers instructions, what must the man who marries Portia do? (1) According to Portia, which man likes alcohol too much? (1) According to Portia, who is limited in his conversation? (1) During the first part of the play, Shakespeare illustrates a variety of personalities. Some are better than others. Look at these pairs of adjectives used to describe personal qualities (in general) and decide which are negative and which are positive in meaning. a. Shy and insecure b. Lively and outgoing c. Sensitive and thoughtful d. Solemn and humorless e. Honest and sincere f. Ambitious and single-minded g. Generous and welcoming h. Selfish and thoughtless

i. Reliable and trustworthy (9) 8. Discuss the following: (about 50 words) What personal qualities do you think are important in these types of people: a. A best friend b. A parent c. A teacher d. A boss (3)

Chapter 2: The Bond


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. How much money does Bassanio ask Shylock for? (1) Shylock agrees to the loan on what condition? (1) Why does Launcelot want to work for Bassanio? (1) Why does Launcelot feel sad? (1) Choose the correct word for the sentences below: a. I havent got enough money to pay for lunch. Could you lend/borrow me some? (1) b. Thats a lovely jacket. Did it pay/cost a lot? (1) c. Hes a very good dentist and he doesnt spend/charge too much. (1) d. A moneylender/notary usually has very high interest rates. (1) e. The television has a 12 month bond/guarantee. (1) 6. Complete the following sentences using the word lend or borrow in the correct form. a. She ______ money from everyone and always takes ages to pay it back. (1) b. Could you _____ me some money for a new jacket? (1) c. The bank said that I couldnt _____ any more money. Apparently there is a limit to how much they can _____ students. (1)

Chapter 3: Shylock loses something valuable


1. Launcelot gives Lorenzo a letter from Jessica. (1) We do not see its contents, but we know that it talks about their plans to run away together that evening. Based on what you have read in the text, write your version of this letter and what you imagine it says. Your letter should be between 120 180 words. To help you, consider the following points: The relationship between Lorenzo and Jessica. Possible fears and hopes that Jessica might have. What exactly the plan is. Possible feelings Jessica might have towards her father and about running away. (5) 2. What does Lorenzo tell Graziano when they are alone? (1) 3. Give two reasons why Shylock doesnt want to go to dinner at Bassanios house. (2) 4. What does Shylock tell Jessica not to do that evening? (1) 5. What does Jessica take with her when she leaves the house? (1) 6. Why is dinner cancelled? (1)

7. Where is Gratiano going? (1)

Chapter 4: The three caskets


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Where does this chapter take place? (1) What are the caskets made of? (1) Where does the Prince come from? (1) What does Portia ask the Prince not to do? (1) What are the conditions that the Prince must adhere to? (1) Does he accept these conditions? (1) Which casket does he choose and what does he find in it? (1) Find a single word in the text that has the following meaning: a. Happening at the same time as something else b. To hate c. Visible aspect of person or thing d. A container/box e. To ask someone to marry you f. An area ruled by a king or queen g. A soft, dense metal h. Rich i. With high price and importance (9) 9. Portia says: I have no right to choose the man I like. Narissa replies that the man who passes her fathers test will undoubtedly be the man who loves you best. a. Do you agree with Narissas opinion of Portias arranged marriage? (1) b. What other cultures have the tradition of arranged marriages? (2) c. Would you like your parents to choose your future wife/husband? Why/why not? How would you feel? (2) d. What advantages/disadvantages could there be with arranged marriages? (2)

Chapter 5: The Prince of Aragon


1. Decide whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F), and then correct the false ones. a. Salerio and Solanio know where Lorenzo is. b. The Prince of Aragon is another one of Portias suitors. c. The Prince thinks external beauty is everything. d. The Prince finally chooses the silver casket. e. The Prince decides to stay longer in Belmont. f. Another young man has sent expensive gifts to Portias house.

g. Nerissa thinks this young man is Bassanio. (7) 2. The Prince talks about people who only look on the surface of things, and Portia says that she is not the kind of person who judges by a mans appearance. The idea of first impressions and judging appearances is one of the themes in The Merchant of Venice. What are the first things that you notice about someone? Feel free to add to the list. Choose at least 3. (3) hair posture feet voice teeth dress eyes smile loudness height gestures hands laugh

3. Consider these questions and the answer only ONE of them. Your answer should be a paragraph. (about 100 words) (5) a. How much do you think first impressions count? b. Can you think of any particular situations when it would be especially important to make a good first impression? c. Talk about a recent time when a person you saw created a good impression. What was it that made you form this idea? d. Think of a time when someone made a bad impression. Why was it bad in your opinion?

Chapter 6: Shylock promises revenge


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. What has made Antonios friends even more worried? (1) Who does Shylock blame for the loss of his daughter and money? (1) Why do you think Shylock still insists on the terms of the bond with Antonio? (1) Where has Tubal been and why? (1) What does Tubal say that makes Shylock smile? (1) What are Shylocks first thoughts on hearing news of his daughter? (1) What item did Jessica trade for the monkey? (1) What do Antonios creditors say about him? (1) Here is an extract from Salerios diary. Use the words below to form a word that fits in the space with the corresponding letter. 1 = became 5 = bad 9 = belief 2 = danger 6 = live 10 = ruin 3 =sink 7 = seem 11 = determine 4 = truth 8 = lose 12 = finance

I am (1)_____ more and more worried about Antonios ships. Every day brings more bad news. Today I heard someone say one of his ships was lost off the coast of England the same

(2)_____ coast where another ship was reported to have (3) _______. I dont know what to believe anymore. I simply hope that these rumours arent (4) ______ . But unfortunately that is not the (5) _____ thing. Not only does Antonio seem to have lost his fortune, he also seems to be in danger of losing his (6) _______ . And all because of one man Shylock. We saw him in the street today. That man is so consumed with anger and bitterness about Jessica running away that he (7) _______ to have lost all reason. All he can think about is the money that he has (8) ________ and the chance to take revenge on Antonio. He (9) _____ Antonio is responsible and take his pleasure in thinking that Antonio is now a (10) ______, penniless man. He appears to want revenge at all costs. Shylock is (11) ____ to go ahead with the conditions of the bond and to take the pound of flesh that Antonio owes him, even though it will bring him no (12) _______ gain. How will this end? (12)

Chapter 7: Bassanio makes a choice


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What helps Bassanio make his decision? (1) What conclusion does Bassanio come to about real love? (1) What does Portia say will happen to Bassanio if he stops wearing the ring? (1) What is the bad news in the letter? (1) What is Portias reaction when she hears of the bad news? (1) Why does Portia write to Doctor Bellario? (1) What are Portias plans? (1) Find a word or words in the text of Chapter 7 that means the same as the following list of words: a. Immediately b. To find c. Origin d. Slowly disappear e. To be the property of f. To possess or use something equally with another person nor people g. To be in debt to someone h. To dress in a way that hides true appearance (8)

Chapter 8: The Trail Begins

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Why does Antonio say the Duke of Venice cannot help him? (1) What does the Duke of Venice ask Shylock to do? (1) Who has the Duke of Venice asked to help resolve the case? (1) What news does the messenger bring? (1) According to Portia, why is mercy such a wonderful quality? (1) Portia makes a last suggestion. What is it and how does Shylock respond? (2) Look at the words in the table below. Which one fits best with each definition below? trial legal a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. merciful sentence law court guilty jury obey contract judgment judge case criminal

A _______ is a place where legal decisions are made. A _______ is the process of deciding if someone is innocent or not. A _______ is the decision given by the court. The person who is officially responsible for deciding the punishment of the court is the ____. A _______ is an official rule. The ______ is a group of people who decide if a person is innocent or not. The opposite of innocent is ______. Someone who is ______ shows kindness and compassion to someone in their power. A ______ is an official document of a formal agreement between two or more people. A ______ is someone who has done something illegal. (10)

Chapter 9: Justice is done


1. Decide whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F), and then correct the false ones. a. Shylock decided not to take the pound of Antonios flesh. (1) b. Portia allows Shylock to take the nine thousand ducats. (1)

c. Antonio says that Shylock must convert to Christianity. (1) d. Portia and Nerissa go to the Dukes house for dinner that evening. (1) e. Bassanio offers Portia three thousand ducats. (1) f. Portia asks Bassanio for his gloves. (1) g. Portia and Nerissa decide to play a trick on both Bassanio and Graziano. (1) 2. Think about the five characters in the table below. Use the box of words (and any other ideas of your own) to complete the table. Remember that their emotional states might change throughout the trial. (2x5 Total 10) desperate revengeful merciful confident Character Bassanio Shylock Antonio Portia The Duke of Venice determined calm forgiving angry happy sad overjoyed relieved serious guilty shocked handsome responsible despairing worried passionate hopeful panicked powerful nervous

Emotions felt during the trial

3. Choose ONE of the characters from the table above. Write a short paragraph describing how they felt during the trial. You may use the words from the table but you MUST support them with your own reasoning and opinion. Your paragraph should be between 75 and 125 words. (5)

Chapter 10: Happy couples


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What does Nerissa mean when she says, I bet he never grows a beard.? (1) What do both Portia and Nerissa say they will do to punish Bassanio and Graziano? (1) Initially, how do Portia and Nerissa explain the fact that they have the rings again? (1) What does Portia give Bassanio to help explain the truth about the situation? (1) What good news is there for Antonio? (1) What is the good news for Lorenzo and Jessica? (1)

Reflection Section

Answer the following questions: 1. Did you enjoy reading The Merchant of Venice? If so, please explain why. If not, please explain why. (5) 2. What did you like most about The Merchant of Venice? This can be anything such as the story line, the characters, the moral of the story etc. (4)

Total points: 170