ICSE English Literature Question Paper 1998 Solved for Class 10

ICSE English Literature Question Paper 1998 Solved for Class 10

Section A – Drama

The Merchant of Venice : Shakespeare

Question 1:
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow: 
Shylock: Gaoler, look to him : tell me not of mercy :
This is the fool that lent out money gratis :
Gaoler, look to him.
Antonio: Hear me yet, good Shylock :
Shylock: I’ll have my bond : speak not against my bond.
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
(i) Where are Antonio, Shylock and the gaoler? Why was the gaoler present? [4]
(ii) What are the three things about Antonio that Shylock tells the gaoler? [3]
(iii) Why does Antonio say ‘Hear me yet’? Why does he call Shylock ‘good Shylock’? [2]
(iv) What is Shylock’s attitude towards Antonio in this extract? What were the two main reasons for this attitude of Shylock towards Antonio? [3]
(v) Later in the scene Solanio tries to bring hope to Antonio regarding the ‘bond’. What does Solanio say, and how does Antonio point out that hope is in vain? [3]
(vi) State the two points that Portia makes at the end of the trial of Antonio that saves his life. What is your feeling about Shylock at the end of the scene? Why? [5]

(i) Antonio, Shylock and gaoler are present in a street before Shylock’s house in Venice. The gaoler is present there because Shylock gives him warning and instruction to be followed. He warns the gaoler to take proper care of Antonio lest he should escape. Shylock also blames him for having permitted Antonio to have come out of the prison.
(ii) Shylock tells the gaoler that Antonio is that foolish person who lends money without charging any interest and gives him great loss. Antonio humiliates him in public place by abusing him and also calls him dog.
(iii) Shylock deprives Antonio of his liberty and asks the jailer to show a harsh attitude towards him and not to permit him to go out at any cost. Shylock seems to be determined to execute the bond signed by Antonio. At this Antonio calls him good Shylock and asks him to listen to him, but Shylock does not pay any heed towards his words.
(iv) In this extract, Shylock shows a kind of cruel and barbaric attitude towards Antonio. He seems to be strong-hearted for him. He is determined to use his bond to gratify his craving for revenge. Shylock shows his bitterness for Antonio because Antonio lends money without interest and thus spoils his business as a usurer. He is also bitter because Antonio hates his sacred nation and constantly chides him for charging interest.
(v) In regard of the bond Solanio tries to bring hope to Antonio saying that he (Solanio) is sure that the Duke will never allow this penalty to be paid. But Solanio’s consolation can not give him any kind of relief. Antonio tells him that the Duke can not deny the course of law. He further adds that the rights which strangers have among them in Venice can not be refused, or it will greatly malign the justice of our state, since its trade and profit consists of all nations.
(vi) When Portia finds that Shylock is determined for the implementation of his bond signed by Antonio and is not ready to show any kind of mercy for Antonio. She allows him to apply his bond and asks him to cut only a pound of flesh—neither more nor less. And no single drop of blood should fall as it has not been mentioned in the bond. In this way she saves the life of Antonio. We feel sympathy for Shylock. He appears to be a tragic figure to us because he has lost everything.

Question 2:
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Portia: … but now I was the Lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants Queen o’er myself; and even now, but now …
Bassanio: Madam, you have bereft me of all words.
(i) Where are Portia and Bassanio? Two other people are present. Name them. [3]
(ii) What has brought Portia and Bassanio together in this scene? Two other men also come to Portia with the same purpose. Name them. What penalty do they pay for their actions? [4]
(iii) What does ‘but now’ in the opening line mean? Why does Portia use these words? When, in line 3, she says ‘but now’, what does she mean ? How is this meaning brought out in what she goes on to say? [4]
(iv) Express Bassanio’s words in simple language. How does he explain what he means? Why does he feel this way? [3]
(v) What promise does Bassanio make to Portia when she gives him a ring? What is the outcome of this promise later in the play? [2]
(vi) Portia gives proof of her love for Bassanio, later, in two ways. What are these two ways? [4]

(i) Portia and Bassanio are in a hall in Portia’s house in Belmont. Gratiano and Nerissa are also present there.
(ii) Bassanio selects the lead casket which contains Portia’s beautiful picture and succeeds in winning the hand of Portia. Thus they are brought together. There are two other suitors namely the Prince of Morocco and the Prince of Arragon but they fail in winning Portia as their wife. For their failures, they have to pay the penalty. They take oath that if they make the wrong choice, they will have to remain bachelor throughout their lives.
(iii) In the opening line Portia tells Bassanio that till now she was the master of this beautiful house, these servants and her ownself, but now all these things including herself are his.
(iv) Bassanio tells Portia that she has deprived him of all words. Only his blood speaks to her in his veins. He adds that there is the same confusion in his faculties as after the speech of a well-beloved prince, in the midst of the murmuring of a pleased audience, the serious feelings, all blended into one, produce nothing except extreme happiness which he is unable to express.
(v) When Portia gives Bassanio a ring saying that if he parts with this ring, loses it through negligence or gives it to somebody else knowingly it will mean the loss of love between us. Bassanio assumes her that this ring will part from him only when he dies, not before that under any circumstances and then she can safely say that Bassanio is dead. But when the case is won in the favour of Antonio, Portia disguised as a male lawyer demands Bassanio’s ring as a reward and she is not ready to accept anything except the ring. Bassanio shows his unwillingness to part with the ring. Antonio insists him and he gives it to the lawyer.
(vi) When Portia comes to know that Bassanio’s dearest friend is in great trouble and due to losing all his ships, he is unable to pay Shylock’s debt, she tells Bassanio to take as much gold as he wants to pay the debt, twenty times over, if required, so that his friend’s life can be saved. Secondly, she saves Antonio’s life in the court.

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