ENGL115: English Composition I

Merchant of Venice

Questions which will appear in the quiz over Act I

  1. Who are these people?

  2. What request does Bossanio make of Antonia? Why does he need to make this request? What are his circumstances?

  3. How has Portia's father decided to find her a suitable husband? How does she feel about this plan?

  4. What role does Shylock play? What is his argument with Antonio? What price does he require of Antonio?

  5. EXTRA CREDIT: What is the meaning of Bossanio's arrow metaphor?

Questions which could appear on the quiz over Act II. I'll guarantee that if you know the answers to these questions, you'll get this quiz.

  1. Who are the first two suitors and which caskets do they choose?

  2. Launcelot Gobbo, the clown, is faced with a difficult decision. What is he about to decide to do? Why? What request does Launcelot make of Bassanio (note the correct spelling this time)?

  3. Who does Launcelot Gobbo meet in the street? How would you describe their meeting?

  4. Explain why Bassanio is afraid to take his friend, Gratiano, with him to Belmont.

  5. What mission does Jessica send Launcelot on? Why?

  6. What conflict occurs between Jessica and Shylock? Why is this not good for Antonio?

  7. I'll record 10 extra point to anyone who memorizes the writing in the gold casket. (All that glisters is not gold...") and repeats it to me sometime before we finish reading the play.

Questions which will appear on the quiz over Act III.
I am looking for one or two more in addition...

  1. What event in Act III gives Shylock great joy? Great anguish? Why?

  2. What does Shylock say a pound of flesh is good for?

  3. When Antonio's ships fail to arrive and he can't pay his debt, his friend offer to pay for him. How does Shylock respond? Explain his motives.

  4. What promise does Bassanio make to Portia after correctly choosing the lead casket? (Think ring)

Questions which will probably appear on the quiz over Act IV:

  1. Most of Act 4 occurs in what location?

  2. Okay, here's a question that requires you to have read your foot notes: in pleading with Shylock the Jew, Bassanio makes an allusion to the transmigration of souls. What does he have in mind?

  3. Who is Balthasar?

  4. Shylock compares Portia to a Daniel. What do you think he means?

  5. What does Shylock get instead of the pound of flesh that he expected?

  6. Dramatic irony occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. Explain how Portia's words, "For, as Thou urgest justice, be assured / Thou shalt have justice more than Thou desir'st." are ironic.

  7. What does Portia accept as payment for her services?

The question for Act V:

Recall the definition of dramatic irony: when we as viewers of a play, understand a meaning which a character in the play does not. You can earn one point for each irony you identify in the following exchange between Bassanio and Portia

Bassanio: Had you been there, I think you would have begged
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.

Portia: Let not that doctor e'er come near my house.
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him anything I have,
No, not my body nor my husbands bed.
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
Lie not a night from home. Watch me like Argus.
If you do not, if I be left alone
Now by mine honor which is yet mine own,
I'll have that doctor for mine bedfellow.