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IX. TEST QUESTIONS
It has been the aim, in the present edition, to offer material for a thorough study of The Merchant of Venice. The arrangement of such material has, however, been governed by the consideration that in many schools it would be found desirable to take up the play for "reading" only, as that term is understood by the Committee on College Requirements. For "reading" the teacher will do well to drop all the latter part of the Introduction, and to use but a sparing selection from each set of notes. For "study," all the appliances may be fully used. The test questions here presented conform to these two types of work.
I. — For Reading
Requirement: "The candidate will be required to present evidence of a general knowledge of the subject-matter, and to answer simple questions on the lives of the authors. The form of examination will usually be the writing of a paragraph or two on each of several topics, to be chosen by the candidate from a considerable number."
Topics For Composition
A. 1. The Friendship of Antonio and Bassanio.
2. The Character of Portia.
3. The Story of Lorenzo and Jessica.
4. An Explanation of Shylock's Point of View.
5. A Brief Account of the Trial Scene.
B. 1. The Relations between Antonio and Shylock.
2. The Contrast between Morocco and Arragon.
3. The Story of Bassanio and Portia.
4. The Decision of Doctor Balthasar.
5. The Jest of the Rings.
C. 1. The Contrast between Gratiano and Antonio.
2. The Character and Fortunes of Launcelot Gobbo.
3. The Intention of Portia's Father, in the Test of the Caskets.
4. The Growth of Shylock's Purpose in regard to the Bond.
5. Description of the Final Scene at Belmont.
II. — For Study
A. 1. Comment on the sadness of Antonio; on the nature of his
feeling for Bassanio.
2. Prove that Bassanio was not moved solely by a desire for
3. State the causes for Shylock's hatred of Antonio. Which
do you consider most potent in influencing his action?
4. What contemporaneous events may have led Shakespeare to
produce a play in which one of the central figures is a Jew?
5. In what ways may the following lines be scanned and read?
"Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
6. Who speaks the following lines?
"What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
Explain them, and show what trick of Elizabethan speech
B. 1. State the two opposite theories of the original purpose of
Shylock in proposing the bond, and the arguments in favor of each.
2. What place does Gobbo fill in the play? Explain the
development of this conventional figure.
3. What may have been Shakespeare's intention in contrasting
Morocco and Arragon?
4. From what source did Shakespeare probably derive the
combination of the bond and casket stories? From what source does he appear to have taken the details of the bond story?
5. How would you scan and read the following lines?
"What many men desire! that' many' may be meant
6. Point out the Elizabethan idiom in the first two lines. How would the same idea be expressed to-day? Explain fool multitude, martlet.
C. 1. What are Portia's distinguishing characteristics? Give instances in which these appear, using, as far as possible, the language of the play.
2. Sketch, in the same way, the character of Jessica. In what
point are Jessica and Portia most strongly contrasted 7
3. What differentiates Lorenzo, throughout the play, from the
other minor characters? What are the most marked traits of Gratiano?
4. What other important play of the Elizabethan time, still
in existence, introduces a Jew as one of its principal characters? What appears to be Shakespeare's attitude toward the persons whom he sets before us in the present play? What is the place of The Merchant of Venice in his development as a dramatist?
5. Explain italicized words in the following passage: —
"Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
6. Scan the first and fifth lines of the passage just given. Com
ment on the change of measure in the lines beginning, "All that glisters is not gold."