Std 6 English lesson 3.6 The Merchant of Venice – questions and answers


1. Say whether the following statements are true or false.

(a) The merchant ships brought spices and other treasures from India and other countries to Italy. True

(b) Antonio had gone on a long voyage. False

(c) Bassanio was very rich. False

(d) Portia had many brothers and sisters. False

(e) Portia’s suitors chose the gold and silver caskets. True

(f) Bassanio borrowed money from Shylock in Antonio’s name. True

(g) Shylock was not at all generous. True

(h) Shylock demanded a pound of Antonio’s flesh. True

(i) Portia saved Antonio in the court of law. True

(j) Antonio’s ships were lost at sea. True

2. Write a few lines about each character.

Antonio: Antonio was a rich merchant who lived in Venice. He was a very kind hearted and generous person. He was very helpful and lent money without any charge to who ever needed. He had many friends but Bassanio was his best friend. He helped Bassanio to borrow money from Shylock in his name.

Bassanio: Bassanio was a young and handsome nobleman but unfortunately, he had no money. Bassanio was Antonio’s best friend. Bassanio wanted to marry Portia.

Portia: Portia was beautiful and intelligent. She was the only daughter of a very wealthy man. Her father had died, leaving her a large estate. She was also very intelligent girl. She saved Antonio’s life by her wit.

Shylock: Shylock was a Jewish moneylender. He had a lot of money, but he was not at all generous. Money was all that he cared for. He did not like Antonio, because Antonio sometimes lent people money without charging any interest for it. So, Shylock decided to take advantage of this situation. He gave them the money on a strange condition. If Antonio failed to return the money within three months, Shylock would cut off a pound of Antonio’s flesh.

3. Write the following in short:

(1) The story of the three caskets.

Ans.  In his will, Portia’s father had written how Portia’s husband should be selected. He had set a test for her suitors. They had to choose between three caskets – one of gold, one of silver and one of lead. Each casket had something written on it. On the gold casket, it was written ‘Whoever chooses me shall gain what many men desire’; on the silver casket, ‘Whoever chooses me, shall get as much as he deserves’; on the casket of lead, ‘Whoever chooses me must give and hazard all he has’.

(2) What the young lawyer pleaded.

Ans. The lawyer pleaded that mercy is a quality of God himself. When a person shows mercy to someone else, they are both blessed. Mercy was more valuable than a king’s crown.

(3) The events at the court.

Ans. Shylock took Antonio to court and demanded that he fulfil the strange and cruel condition. The Duke asked Shylock to show mercy towards Antonio but Shylock was not ready to do so. Just then, a young lawyer entered the court. He said that he would fight Antonio’s case. Then the young lawyer requested Shylock to show mercy, but all this had no effect on Shylock. The young lawyer then said that Shylock could take a pound of flesh, but warned that Shylock should not shed even one drop of Antonio’s blood. Also, he should cut exactly one pound of flesh – nothing less, nothing more. Shylock realised that he could not do what the young lawyer asked him to do, and he accepted his defeat. Antonio’s life was saved.

4. Write the conditions that Portia put down to warn Shylock.

Ans. The conditions that Portia put down to warn Shylock are:

(i) while cutting off the flesh, Shylock should not shed even one drop of Antonio’s blood.

(ii) he should cut exactly one pound of flesh – nothing less, nothing more.

5. Find four words ending with ‘-ous’ from the story. Can you add three more words ending with ‘-ous’ to this list ?

prosperous, dangerous, adventurous

generous, fabulous, delicious

6. Read the following words. Write the words that are combined to make these words.






Add ten more words to the list on your own. Each of the component words must be meaningful.

faraway  = far + away

nobleman = noble + man

whoever = who + ever

moneylender = money + lender

sometimes = some + times

breakfast = break + fast

butterfly = butter + fly

treehouse = tree + house

staircase = stair + case

anytime = any + time

bathtub = bath + tub

bedroom = bed + room

cardboard = card + board

classwork = class + work

earring + ear + ring

7. Read the following chains of words :

fortune – fortunate – fortunately – unfortunately

know – knowing – knowingly – unknowingly

amaze – amazing – amazingly

possible – impossible – impossibly

8. A letter or group of letters added to the front of a word to change its meaning and make a new world is called a prefix. Examples: fortunately – unfortunately, agree – disagree, possible – impossible, human – inhuman, legal – illegal

Add proper prefixes to the following words to make new words.

Ans. i) kind – unkind ii) intelligent – unintelligent iii) advantage – disadvantage iv) happy – unhappy v) allow – disallow vi) safe – unsafe.

9. Find at least 3 sentences in the extract that have modal verbs: Ans. i) Shylock should not shed even one drop of Antonio’s blood.

ii) He should cut exactly one pound of flesh.

iii) Shylock realised that he could not do what the young man asked him.

10. Visit a library : Read other tales from Shakespeare, for example, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Macbeth and The Tempest.

11. Hold a mock trial for any one of the following offences. There should be a complainant, a defendant, and lawyers to argue the case on behalf of them. The whole class can vote to pass the judgement. On what occasions will you plead for justice? What punishment will you suggest? When will you plead for mercy?

(a) A very poor and honest servant has broken a vase while cleaning it. The vase was valuable and the employer liked it very much.

(b) A poor man stole some ornaments from a rich girl.

(c) A young man was injured in a road accident due to another man’s careless driving.

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