The Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 5 ICSE Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

Shylock : I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:
There are my keys. But whereof should I go?
I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I’ll go in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian. Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house. I am right loath to go:
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I dream of money-bags tonight.

(i) Where is Shylock at this time? Who has invited him to dinner?

Answer : Shylock is at his home in Venice. He is accompanied by Jessica and Launcelot. Bassanio and Antonio have invited him over to dinner. Shylock had wanted to talk to Antonio when Bassanio asked for the loan and it was then when he was invited to dinner.

(ii) What had Shylock said earlier when he was invited for the dinner? Why does he say that he is going?

Answer : Shylock had earlier condemned having dinner with Christians. He had said that the Christians ate pork, which was forbidden for him according to the Jewish religion. He didn’t want to go to the dinner even now, as he thought that his hosts didn’t love him but had invited him only to flatter him.

(iii) Why does Shylock want Jessica to do when he is not at home?

Answer : Shylock was very anxious as he was having bad omens relating to his money. The previous night, he had seen money bags in his dreams. He wanted Jessica to guard the house in his absence.

(iv) How does Launcelot try to persuade Shylock to go to the dinner immediately?

Answer : Launcelot had started working for Bassanio, his new master. He was given a task by Lorenzo; to give Jessica a message that he would surely come for her that night. But upon learning that Shylock was reluctant to go, he told him that Bassanio was waiting for him and so he should go.

(v) Shylock expected something bad to happen. Does his intuition prove right?

Answer : Shylock was having an intuition that something bad was about to happen, as on the previous night, he had a dream of money bags, which was considered a bad omen. He was filled with anxiety.

Yes, his intuition turned out to be right as we see later that his daughter, Jessica eloped with her lover Lorenzo. She also took Shylock’s money and jewels with her.

Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

Shylock :  The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder;
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild-cat; drones hive not with we;
Therefore I part with him; and part with him
To one that I would have him help to waste
His borrow’d purse.

(i) Where is Shylock at the present time? Where is he going? Why?

Answer : Shylock is present in his house when this conversation takes place. He is talking to his daughter Jessica. He is going to have dinner at Bassanio’s place as he was invited there earlier.

(ii) About whom is Shylock making these statements? Why has Shylock released him?

Answer : Shylock was making these statements about his servant Launcelot. He had released him because he considered Launcelot very lazy and snail-paced. He thought that Launcelot only ate and slept during the daytime and thus was of no use to him. He himself had referred Launcelot to Bassanio, his new master.

(iii) Where has ‘he’ in the extract gone? What justification had ‘he’ given for leaving Shylock?

Answer : ‘He’ in the extract stands for Launcelot. He has left Shylock’s services and has started working for Bassanio now.

Launcelot said that he was not happy working for Shylock. He called Shylock the very incarnation of the devil. He also said that he was being starved at Shylock’s house due to which he had grown so thin that anyone could count his ribs by feeling them with the fingers.

(iv) What instruction does Shylock give to Jessica immediately after this? Why?

Answer : Before going out, Shylock told Jessica to shut all the doors and the windows of the house. He had dreamt of money bags and feared that something bad was about to happen. Moreover, the  Christians were having masked procession that night and he did not want Jessica to look at them.

(v) Why does Shylock mean by “borrow’d purse”?

Answer : Shylock despised Christians and he was expressing his contempt of Bassanio’s actions here. Bassanio had come to him asking for a loan which upon the conditions of the bond, Shylock had agreed to give. Now, Bassanio was giving a dinner. Shylock mockingly said that he was hosting a dinner with borrowed money and his new servant Launcelot would help him to waste this money.