Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) With whom is Portia talking and where is she at this time? What does the prince have to do?
Answer : Portia was talking to Arragon here. They were present in Portia’s house in Belmont at his time and the three caskets had been drawn out. The prince would have to select the casket containing Portia’s portrait to win her hand in marriage.
(ii) Explain, “wherein I am contain’d”.
Answer : What Portia means is that one of three caskets contains her portrait. If the correct casket is selected by her suitor, their wedding would be solemnized immediately.
(iii) What will happen if the wrong choice was made? What would be its consequences?
Answer : If someone made the wrong choice, the was bound by the oath to never disclose to anyone the casket he had chosen. Secondly, he could never ask any other woman’s hand in marriage. Finally, he had leave Portia immediately and never to return to her again.
(iv) What would be the result of the right choice? Did the listener made a right choice?
Answer : Selecting the casket with Portia’s picture in it would mean that the right casket has been chosen by the suitor. In that case, his marriage to Portia would be solemnized.
No, Arragon failed to make the right choice. He chose the silver casket.
(v) What choice was to made? Explain the inscriptions on the three caskets in your own words.
Answer : In order to win Portia’s hand in marriage, it was required according to her father’s will that the suitor had to choose one out of three caskets. The casket chosen must contain Portia’s portrait for their marriage to be solemnized. The three caskets “were of gold, silver and lead.”
The gold casket had the inscription – “whoever chooses me shall gain what many men desire.”
The silver casket had the inscription – “whoever chooses me will get as much as he deserves.”
On the lead casket was the inscription – “whoever chooses me must give and risk all that he has.”
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
(i) Who is the speaker of these lines? In what context, were these lines spoken?
Answer : Arragon is the speaker of these lines. He had said these lines to Portia when he chose the wrong casket. Now, he felt like a fool and must leave Portia at once.
(ii) What oath had the speaker taken?
Answer : Arragon had taken an oath to participate in the lottery to win Portia’s hand in marriage. According to the oath, he could not disclose to anyone which casket he had chosen. Secondly, if his choice was wrong, he could not ask any other woman to marry him. Finally, he must leave Portia never to return to her again.
(iii) What impression do you form about the speaker?
Answer : Arragon choose the casket which had the inscription that he will get what he deserves. He thought he was more deserving than anybody. This brings out his arrogance and vanity.
(iv) Whom had the speaker come to woo? Was he successful in his venture? Why?
Answer : Arragon had come to woo Portia. However, she could marry a man only when he was successful in the lottery designed by her late father.
No, Arragon was not able to win Portia. He chose the wrong casket and had to leave Belmont.
(v) Why is the speaker saying that he came with one fool’s head and was leaving with two?
Answer : Arragon had chosen unwisely. The silver casket said that the one who will chose it will get as much as he deserves. Arragon thought that he was a very deserving candidate. However, he was swayed by his arrogance and chose the wrong casket in which in which he got a picture of a blinking idiot. Hence, he said that he had come with one fool’s head (his own) and was leaving with two (including the picture of the idiot).