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Biyani's Think Tank

Concept based notes

English Literature II

Anu Bhatnagar
Deptt. of Arts
Biyani Girls College, Jaipur

Published by :
Think Tanks
Biyani Group of Colleges

Concept & Copyright :
Biyani Shikshan Samiti
Sector-3, Vidhyadhar Nagar,
Jaipur-302 023 (Rajasthan)
Ph : 0141-2338371, 2338591-95 Fax : 0141-2338007
E-mail :

Edition : 2011
Price :

Leaser Type Setted by :
Biyani College Printing Department

While every effort is taken to avoid errors or omissions in this Publication, any
mistake or omission that may have crept in is not intentional. It may be taken note of
that neither the publisher nor the author will be responsible for any damage or loss of
any kind arising to anyone in any manner on account of such errors and omissions.
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I am glad to present this book, especially designed to serve the needs
of the students. The book has been written keeping in mind the general
weakness in understanding the fundamental concepts of the topics. The
book is self-explanatory and adopts the Teach Yourself style. It is based on
question-answer pattern. The language of book is quite easy and understandable
based on scientific approach.
Any further improvement in the contents of the book by making corrections,
omission and inclusion is keen to be achieved based on suggestions from the
readers for which the author shall be obliged.
I acknowledge special thanks to Mr. Rajeev Biyani, Chairman & Dr. Sanjay
Biyani, Director (Acad.) Biyani Group of Colleges, who are the backbones and
main concept provider and also have been constant source of motivation
throughout this Endeavour. They played an active role in coordinating the various
stages of this Endeavour and spearheaded the publishing work.
I look forward to receiving valuable suggestions from professors of various
educational institutions, other faculty members and students for improvement of
the quality of the book. The reader may feel free to send in their comments and
suggestions to the under mentioned address.


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Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Q1 Who is being compared to a summers day in the sonnet Shall I
compare thee to a summer's day? And by whom?
Ans The poets friend is being compared to a summers day. There is a doubt
about the identity of this friend-he may be William Herbert or Henry
Wriothesley or Third Earl of Southampton. Here the poet, Shakespeare
compares his friend to a summers day.

Q2. Why is the friend more lovely and temperate than the summers day?
Ans The summers day, which is the summer season is very short lived.
Sometimes the summers storms wither up the beautiful buds that bloom
in May-the sun which is sometimes too hot is often overcast with the dark
clouds. But the friends beauty is eternal and constant. So it is more
fascinating than the summers season.

Q3. List the poetic devices used in this sonnet?
Ans Some types of poetic devices that are frequently used in this love poem
are meter, rhyme, assonance, consonance, repetition, end & internal
rhyme and alliteration.
a.) Iambic Pentameter is essentially the meter or the basic rhythm of
Shakespeares sonnets, as is in this one.
b.) Alliteration works by repeating one or more letters at the beginning of a
word throughout a line. Words like shall summers, thee to, thou
temperate, art and, more more, do darling, and all a, summers short,
sometime shines, too the, hot heaven, fair from fair, summer shall and
time thou are all examples of alliteration.
c.) Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. Words such as compare
summers, rough buds, sometime declines, in his, thou growst, breathe see
and lives his gives are all assonance.
d.) Consonance, which means that the final consonants agree, is also used in
this specific sonnet. Some consonance examples are compare more, winds
buds, is his, fair fair, eternal shall, that owst, when in, men can, and lives
this this are some good examples of consonance.
e.) We also have end rhyme used in this Shakespearean sonnet such as day
may, temperate date, shines declines, dimmed untrimmed, fade shade,
owst growst, and see thee.
f.) Internal rhymes are also used such as: Lines 1 and 2, thee and lovely. We
also have lines 3 and 4, do and too. Another example of an internal rhyme
is heaven and complexion and is his from lines 5 and 6.
g.) Repetition is very common in this sonnet. In line 2 we have more and
more, in lines 4 and 5 he also shows too and too. In lines 6 and 7 and and
& fair fair. Towards the end of the sonnet, lines 10,11 and 12 show nor nor
and thou thou. The rhymed couplet has three repetitions which are so
long, so long, can, can and this, this.
Although William Shakespeares Sonnet 18 is an extended
metaphor, there are other examples of figurative language throughout the
poem. In this sonnet, we have figurative language such as metaphor,
conceit, personification, antithesis, synecdoche or they just remain self
explanatory (literal).
h.) The conceit, controlling idea, of this poem is in line one when Thee is
being compared to a summers day, which is also a metaphor.
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i.) Antithesis is shown in line 14 when Shakespeare says So long lives this,
and this gives life to thee. This is the balancing of contrasting terms.
j.) An example of synecdoche is in line 12 when lines is referred to as the
whole poem.
k.) Examples of personification are seen in lines 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14. In the
third line, Shakespeare says darling buds giving human attributes to a
flower. In line 4, summer is given a life like quality to rent or to lease. The
sun in line 5 is referred to as the eye of heaven. The sun is being compared
to a face having a gold complexion in line 6. In line 11 Death is being
compared to a braggart giving Death a human quality. In the last line of
this sonnet, the poem itself is being compared to a living thing.
l.) lines 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 and 13 are all metaphors because throughout
those lines, the beloveds beauty is being compared to the summer.

Q4. Explain the meaning of the following quatrains/couplet:

a.) Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Ans: Shall I compare you to a summer's day?
You are more lovely and more constant:
Rough winds shake the beloved buds of May
And summer is far too short:

b.) Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd.
Ans: At times the sun is too hot,
Or often goes behind the clouds;
And everything beautiful sometime will lose its beauty,
And everything beautiful sometime will lose its beauty,
By misfortune or by nature's planned out course.

c.) But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
Ans: But your youth shall not fade,
Nor will you lose the beauty that you possess;
Nor will death claim you for his own,
Because in my eternal verse you will live forever.

d.) So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Ans: So long as there are people on this earth,
So long will this poem live on, making you immortal.


Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.

'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

Q1 Why do you think the rich and powerful people get monuments and
states erected in their memory?
Ans To show off their grandeur, kings and princes used to erect monuments
and statues in their memory. The motto of cobbling up those monuments
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and statues is to establish their memory for several centuries, defeating
the unbeatable time.

Q2 Describe how the monuments and statues brave the ravages of time.
Ans The monuments and statues brave the ravages of time. But these are the
tiniest trifles in the cruel hand of time. These without doubt are subject to
decay, decline and destruction following the most delicate system of the
Almighty they get ruined, disfigured and spoiled.

Q3 Why does the poet refer to Time as being sluttish?
Ans Being materialistic entities statues and glided monuments are inevitable to
decline and destroy. Nothing in the world can escape the cruel hand of
time. So do the monuments and statues. The sluttish time discolours them,
spoils them and destroys them overpowering the assay of being

Q4 The poet says that neither forces of nature nor wars can destroy his
poetry. In fact, even godly powers of Mars will not have a devastating
effect on his rhyme. What quality of the poet is revealed through these
Ans Shakespeare had a strong intuitive far seeing ability. There too his
greatness, poetic art is immortal along with the natural things. An
individual poet dies but he keeps himself alive through his verse
.Shakespeare is a person who made the extensive use of these ways of
immortalization .It aptly showed his artistic quality through his sonnet
which after hundreds of years has relevance within us.

Q5 How according to the poet will his beloved outlive monument and
Ans According to the poet his beloved is captured in this sonnet and shall
therefore outlive the marble and the gilded monuments built by the
princes, because the monuments shall start decaying as time passes.

Q.6 How does the poet immortalize his beloved?
Ans The poet immortalizes his beloved by stating that his beloved shall live
forever in this sonnet and in the eyes of posterity. Also she will wear out
this world till judgment day and outlive it.

Q7 What is the central theme of this poem?
Ans The central theme of this poem is that literary art is not affected by time,
just as marble monuments are. They will be destroyed with time, but his
beloved shall always live, through this sonnet. Time is shown as a great
leveler and destroyer here.

Q8 Explain the meaning of the following quatrains/ Couplets:

a) Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time
Ans: Not marble, nor the gold-plated shrines
Of princes shall outlive the power of poetry;
You shall shine more bright in these verses
Than on dust-covered gravestones, ravaged by time.

b) When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
Ans: When devastating war shall overturn statues,
And conflicts destroy the mason's handiwork,
The cause of war (Mars) nor the effects of war (fire) shall destroy
The living record of your memory (this poem).

c) 'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
Ans: Against death and destruction, which render people forgotten,
Shall you push onward; praise of you will always find a place,
Even in the eyes of future generations
That survive until the end of humanity.

d) So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
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Ans: So, until you arise on Judgment Day,
You are immortalized in this poetry, and continue to live in lovers'

Multiple Choice Questions:

'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.

a.) What does the poet suggest here?
To become a hero
To forget death
To forget all enmity
To wait till doomsday

b.) Posterity will come to know about the poets friends
By his recorded or written memory of life
By the poets powerful rhyme
By this sonnet only
By the monuments gilded by him

c.) Pace Forth means
Walk ahead
Come ahead
Strive forward
To be in a race

d.) The Rhyme Scheme of this stanza is

Answers:a.) To forget all enmity
b.) By his recorded or written memory of life
c.) Stride Forwards
d.) abab

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

a.) The poet is addressing
His father
The person he loves
Powerful rulers

b.) One should wait till
Ones death
Ones biography is written
One creates an example for posterity
The day of the last judgment

c.) These lines convey the message
One must act in order to be loved by all
One gets justice in the doomsday
Everything comes to an end
Poetry immortalizes friend

Answers: a.) The person he loves
b.) The day of the last judgment
c.) Poetry immortalizes friend

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Q1.) Explain the meaning of the following quatrains:

a.) Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Ans: Let me not declare any reasons why two
True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love
Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances,
Or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful:

b.) O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Ans: Oh no! it is a lighthouse
That sees storms but it never shaken;
Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship,
Whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be

c.) Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
Ans: Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty
Comes within the compass of his sickle.
Love does not alter with hours and weeks,
But, rather, it endures until the last day of life.

d.) If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Ans: If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love
Then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly]

Q2 What is a Sonnet?
Ans A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem, traditionally written in iambic
pentameterthat is, in lines ten syllables long, with accents falling on
every second syllable. Two kinds of sonnets have been most common in
English poetry:
a.) The Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two main parts, called
the octave and the sestet. The octave is eight lines long, and typically
follows a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBA, or ABBACDDC. The sestet
occupies the remaining six lines of the poem, and typically follows a
rhyme scheme of CDCDCD, or CDECDE.
b.) The Shakespearean sonnet, the form of sonnet utilized throughout
Shakespeares sequence, is divided into four parts. The first three parts are
each four lines long, and are known as quatrains, rhymed ABAB; the
fourth part is called the couplet, and is rhymed CC.

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Q3 Give Examples of some of the Literary Devices used by Shakespeare in
the above Sonnet?
a.) Assonance - Admit impediments (Line 2)
b.) Alliteration - Although HIS HEIGHT be taken(Line 8), Within
his bending sickles COMPASS COME(Line 10), BUT BEARS it
out even to the edge of doom(Line 12), I never writ, NOR NO
man ever loved.(Line 14)
c.) Repetition - Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
d.) Metaphor - O no! it is an ever-fixed mark (Line 5 Love is
compared to a light house), It is the star to ever wandering
bark(Line 7 Love is compared to a star)
e.) Symbol - Rosy lips and cheeks(Line 9) symbolizes a girl whom
one might be in love with
f.) Synecdoche wandering Bark refers to a ship
g.) Personification - Loves not Times fool, though rosy lips and
cheeks Within his bending sickles compass come (Lines 9-10)
Q4 What is the theme of the Sonnet?
The theme of this Sonnet is that love is constant and an unstoppable force
of nature.
Shakespeare claims that love withstands every situation and is the only
constant in our world.
Shakespeare views love optimistically in this sonnet, and conveys love as
timeless, even in todays society.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

Short Questions:-
Q1 When did Milton write his sonnet On His Blindness?
Ans The sonnet On His Blindness was written around 1652.

Q2 What is the sonnet about?
Ans The sonnet laments the blindness of Milton.

Q3 What type of sonnet is On His blindness?
Ans On His Blindness is a Petrarchan or Italian type of sonnet with octave and

Q4 What does Milton mean by era half of my days?
Ans Milton became blind in the middle of his life. He became totally blind in
1652 at the age of about 44.

Q5 That one talent - What is the double meaning of talent? Is there any
allusion here?
Ans Here talent means gift (poetic gift given to him by God). Talent originally
means o gold coin. It has the allusion to the Biblical story of one gold coin
given by a master to his servant and the servant did not use the talent.

Q6 Which is death to hide - What does Milton mean here?
Ans It meant that to hide the gift or to keep it useless is death to him. It is
spiritual death.

Q7 What does Miltons soul wish?
Ans The soul of Milton wishes to serve God by writing great poetry.

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Q8 Lest the returning chide - How does the line allude to the Biblical
story of talents?
Ans The master in the Parable of Talents rebukes the servant for keeping his
talent (gold coin) useless.

Q9 Doth God exact day-labour - What is meant by day-labour?
Ans Day-labour mans labour done in the daylight-the full amount of his work.

Q10 But Patience, to prevent that murmur. - What is meant by Patience?
How is it used?
Ans Patience means here patient thinking. Patience is personified here.

Q11 How does one serve God best?
Ans One serves God best by submitting to the gentle control of God.

Q12 Who are the thousands at Gods bidding?
Ans Milton perhaps means the angels traveling over land and oceans. Gods
ministers (servants) are the sun, moon, stars, natural objects who work
their allotted duties.

Q13 Who best bear His mild yoke - What is the mild yoke?
Ans Mild yoke means the gentle rule of God.

Q14 They also serve who only stand and wait. - What does Milton mean by
stand and wait?
Ans Stand and wait means remain firm in faith and devotion to God.

Q15 What is the structure of the poem?
Ans It is a Petrachan Sonnet of 14 Lines, with an Octave and a Sestet. It has
alternating lines in Iambic Tetrameter and Iambic Pentameter,with the
rhyme scheme ABBA ABBA CDE CDE.

Long Questions:
Q1 "Milton is our only great poet in whom the ideals of the Renaissance
and of Puritanism are an equal passion." Elaborate and illustrate.
Ans The Renaissance is a period of history that relates to a fundamental
change in the way that man began to think about the universe. It indicated
a shift from more medieval ways of thinking about the world, with God
being at the centre of everything and man adopting a fatalistic attitude
towards life, to placing man at the very centre of the universe and
emphasising the way in which man could shape his own destiny and
discover the secrets of the universe through reason. Puritanism, on the
other hand, sought to restore the balance by placing a renewed focus on
God and man's relationship with him. Arguably, both of these
approaches are clearly evident in the poetry of John Milton. Milton's scope
and ambition is
nothing but breathtaking in its scope as he hopes to, in this work, "justify
the ways of God to men," yet at the same time he places all of his
ambitions before the Holy Spirit, whose aid he invokes as he recognises
that all of his ambitions need to be placed in a proper and fitting context.

Q2 What is the theme in "On His Blindness" by John Milton?
Ans: Milton is asking himself what purpose he can have in life, now that he is
completely blind. He was a deeply religious man and believed that the
purpose of life was to serve God, which was what he had always tried to
do. His way of serving God was to write poetry and essays on religious
subjects or at least to write nothing but what he considered to be the
truths that God would approve of. Milton's most famous work, of
course, is his epic poem Paradise Lost, in which he said he wished to justify
the ways of God to man. But being blind made it nearly
impossible for him to write. That was "the one talent" he possessed. In his
sonnet "On His Blindness" he asks whether God expected him to
contribute anything to the world in spite of his severe handicap. He
concludes by telling himself that God is all-powerful and does not need
the services of any human being. His state is kingly. Humans who are
patient and humble serve God best--those "who best bear His mild yoke."
So Milton asssures himself that he is not sinning by failing to work for
truth, justice, and religious understanding. The final beautiful iambic
pentameter line of the sonnet summarizes the message of the whole
poem: "They also serve who only stand and wait."

Q3 Give a Line by Line explanation of the above sonnet?
Ans: The analysis of the sonnet is as such:
Line 1
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The poem starts with the speaker who is the poet himself John Milton,
reflecting upon his blindness and how God expects him to make full use
of his ability as a writer, if he cannot even see the paper on which he writes.
The talent of the poet is useless now that he is losing his sight The poet
considers how his light is used up or wasted . light for this deeply
religious poet it mean an inner light or spiritual capacity. So He uses the
word "light" to refer to his blindness and also his inner light.

Line 2
The poet assumes that his life is not yet over. The phrase in this dark
world and wide is a very honest image.

Line 3
This line as I read refer to a story in the Bible .which speaks of a bad
servant who neglected his masters talent "a talent was a kind of coin"
instead of using it. He is "cast into outer darkness.". It can also mean
Miltons talent as a writer.

Lines 4-6
"Lodged with me useless" means that his talent as a poet is useless
now that he is losing his sight. Line 5 expresses the speakers desire
to serve God through his poetry, to use his talents for the glory of
God."Though my soul more bent/ to serve therewith my Maker" , here
the poet is saying that although my soul is even more inclined to
serve God with that talent, I want to serve God with my writing , but
he feels that his talent will be wasted as he becomes blind. He wishes to
"present his true account," or give a good account of himself and his
service to God. The sixth line may refer to the second coming of prophet
Jesus peace be upon him "Lest he returning chide", as a Christian poet he
didn't wont to be blamed or rebuke when Jesus returns.

Lines 7-8
Milton asked if God just wants lesser tasks since his blindness denies him
from using his talents.Patience is capitalized in the eighth line and
becomes more clearly personified when answering Milton's question.

Line 9
Patience speaks, to prevent that "murmur," Miltons questioning of Gods
will in previous line.

Lines 10-14
Patiences reply explains the nature of God. First of all God does not need
mans work.
"Who best / bear his mild yoke" means the people who are most
respectful to God's will. These people are the ones who serve God best.
The image of the yoke is also Biblical. " yoke " was a kind of harness put
on oxen but in other bible it is an image for God's will. God's greatness
"His state is kingly" was explained here. At Gods bidding or will,
thousands of people "speed and post" all over the world all the time. This
line mean that the whole world are servants to God. There is more than
one way to serve God, and patience is telling the poet that even his
waiting caused by his blindness can be a kind of service

HOW soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom sheweth.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear
That some more timely happy spirits indueth.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot however mean or high,
Toward which time leads me and the will of heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great taskmaster's eye.

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Long Questions:

Q1 Discuss the theme of the poem in detail?
Ans The main theme of this sonnet is the way that the world looks on
achievement and expect visible signs of having achieved something or
done something with our lives, whereas actually this sonnet argues that
"achievement" and "growth" can result from internal and intellectual
If we have a closer look at the wording of this sonnet, it begins with
a recognition of how quickly time flies and how the speaker has already
passed his twenty-third year:

How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!

However, what concerns the speaker above all is the way in which in his
"late spring" there is no evidence of having achieved or done something
with his life: "no bud nor blossom sheweth." Nevertheless, the speaker
argues that he has achieved "inward ripeness"
in spite of the lack of evidence that he can point towards to suggest that he
has been engaged in meaningful pursuits. The poem ends with a
statement of belief in a God who has a perfect plan for each stage of our
lives and can see both the inner "ripeness" and the outer:

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great taskmaster's eye.

Thus this poem is really about our lives and what we do with them.
Whether we have accomplished tangible exploits that others can look to or
not, this poem argues that we must not neglect our own "inner" maturity
and that we should have confidence in God's plan for our lives rather than
our own plan or the plans of others for us.

Q2 Is someone identified as the speaker? What assumptions can you make
about the speaker? (e.g., age, gender, class, emotional state, etc.)
The speaker of the poem is a young man on his birthday (line 3 my).
The speaker does consider himself to be old looking (line 6 so near), but
he thinks the inside doesnt match the outside.The speaker is religious (L
14 great Task-master).

Q3 What is the rhetorical occasion of the poem? Is it a memory, a
description, an observation, a valedictory, an argument, a diatribe, an
elegy, a declaration, a critique, etc.?
The occasion is the 23
birthday or close to it. He might be thinking
about it approaching. John Milton wrote a long time ago (he died in 1674).
What was the life expectancy? What was the age of 23 equal to? (life
expectancy was 35).The occasion of his birthday is causing the speaker to
think about his life (perhaps, yet).

Q4 Does the speaker identify an audience? What assumptions can you
make about the intended audience? Is the speaker clearly addressing
one person or the world?
Probably the speaker is talking or thinking to himself. If he is taking
stock of his life he might be thinking about what he has or hasnt done.
God might be part of the audience (last line), so maybe he is praying. He
sure wants God to know he has been considered.

Q5 What is the speaker's purpose? In what ways does the poet convey this
message? What is the message? How does the speaker try to spark a
reaction in the audience? How is the poem supposed to make the
audience feel? What is its intended effect?
If the man is taking stock of his life at this turning point, he might be
thinking about what he has left to do. Perhaps in line 4 he might be
thinking about the children (no bud or blossom shewth) he doesnt have.
This might be akin to a 55 year old man today looking back on his life.

Q6 What is the subject of the piece? How do you know this? How does the
poet present his/her subject? Does (s)he present it immediately or does
(s)he delay its revelation?
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Growing old, looking back, having regret, but having hope. I think he is
frightened of the years flying by (line 3 my hasting days fly on). He feels
that he may look like a man on the outside (L 5 my semblance might
deceive the truth, but he still feels like a kid inside inward ripeness doth
much less appear).

Q7 What is the author's attitude toward the subject? What emotional sense
do you take from the piece? How does the diction point to tone?
In the first 8 lines the speaker seems a little sad about growing old
because he never had kids and regrets it. He seems sad that his days are
flying by, and lonely. But the tone of the second six lines show that he
realizes that there isnt much he can do about his situation. By the end of
the poem he accepts the amount of time he has left ( L 9 be it less or
more, or soon or slow). His resignation is made easier knowing that his
God is watching and judging him (last line eye).


Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

She's all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus.
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

1.) Write a brief summary of the poem The Sunne Rising?
Lying in bed with his lover, the speaker chides the rising sun, calling it a
busy old fool, and asking why it must bother them through windows
and curtains. Love is not subject to season or to time, he says, and he
admonishes the sunthe Saucy pedantic wretchto go and bother late
schoolboys and sour apprentices, to tell the court-huntsmen that the King
will ride, and to call the country ants to their harvesting.
Why should the sun think that his beams are strong? The speaker says
that he could eclipse them simply by closing his eyes, except that he does
not want to lose sight of his beloved for even an instant. He asks the sun
if the suns eyes have not been blinded by his lovers eyesto tell him by
late tomorrow whether the treasures of India are in the same place they
occupied yesterday or if they are now in bed with the speaker. He says
that if the sun asks about the kings he shined on yesterday, he will learn
that they all lie in bed with the speaker.
The speaker explains this claim by saying that his beloved is like every
country in the world, and he is like every king; nothing else is real. Princes
simply play at having countries; compared to what he has, all honor is
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mimicry and all wealth is alchemy. The sun, the speaker says, is half as
happy as he and his lover are, for the fact that the world is contracted into
their bed makes the suns job much easierin its old age, it desires ease,
and now all it has to do is shine on their bed and it shines on the whole
world. This bed thy centre is, the speaker tells the sun, these walls, thy

2.) Comment on the form and structure of the poem The Sunne Rising?
The poem is composed in the form of a dramatic monologue where the
poet lover reprimands the Sun and calls it names for disturbing love
making. The poem has a well-knit, logical structure. It has symmetry
of design. It progresses with the progress and witty shifts in the poet are
It follows a complicated metrical pattern of stressed beats per line, but
each of the three verses follows it strictly. The easiest way to see it is to
count the number of syllables per line: 8, 4, 10, 10, 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10. There
are half the number of stresses per line than there are syllables. This is a
unique pattern that Donne has invented for his poem.
The poem also follows a regular rhyme scheme in each verse, but again it is
an unusual structure: ABBACDCDEE. Each of the three stanzas follows
the same pattern of beats and rhymes.

3.) Write a brief not on the language and imagery of the poem The Sunne
Donne endows his speaker with language implying that what goes on in
his head is primary over the world outside it; for instance, in the second
stanza, the speaker tells the sun that it is not so powerful, since the
speaker can cause an eclipse simply by closing his eyes. This kind of
heedless, joyful arrogance is perfectly tuned to the consciousness of a new
lover, and the speaker appropriately claims to have all the worlds riches
in his bed (India, he says, is not where the sun left it; it is in bed with him).
The speaker captures the essence of his feeling in the final stanza, when,
after taking pity on the sun and deciding to ease the burdens of his old
age, he declares Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere. He uses a lot
of apt imagery to effectively display his feelings & wit.
The main conceit or metaphor of the poem is the personification of the sun
into an old man a "busy old fool" whose business it is to get everyone
out of bed and on the way to work. The persona adopted by the poet sees
fit to argue with the sun, and this creates a comic opening to the poem.
This is extended when, in the second stanza, he claims that he is stronger
than the sun, because he can "eclipse and cloud" his beams just by
blinking. This is of course true, but it does not really mean that the sun is
not "so reverend, and strong". At the end of the poem he treats the Sun
more gently: his "age asks ease" so they are in the position to help him,
since he only has to warm the two of them, and he warms the whole
The secondary conceit is the metaphor that the speakers lover is "all
states" she is all the treasures of the world. As a result, therefore, he is
"all princes". Donne elevates the importance of the relationship using this
Donne combines this hyperbole (the speaker has all the power in the
world) with litotes, in his deliberate reduction of the importance of
everything else. Measurements of time, ie "hours, days, months", are
likened to "rags", all honour is "mimic" (ie fake), and wealth is "alchemy"
(ie it isnt real). He sums it up with the statement "nothing else is". This
combination of the two techniques demonstrates how great their love is.
Metaphorically, it is the only thing in the world and so their room
becomes the whole "sphere" for the sun.
Alliteration is used to complement the mood of the poem as it changes in
the stanzas. In the first stanza there are a lot of strong consonantal sounds,
like the t and c combinations in "pedantic wretch, go chide", which
emphasises the tone of the telling off. In the last stanza, the alliteration
falls on softer sounds, like w, as is appropriate for the soppy ending of
the poem.

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4.) Write a brief critical note on the central theme of the poem and the
poets tone?
The poem begins with a comic, argumentative tone, but quickly switches
into pride in his lover, and finally into a very romantic tone. Love is
elevated and celebrated in this poem. It is shown as conquering all and as
being the most important thing in the world, or even the only thing in the
world. It empowers the speaker to fight with the sun.
The tone of the poem shows how much the speaker cherishes his lover:
she is worth all the treasure in the world. He also refuses to close his eyes,
because he doesnt want to lose the sight of her for as long as a blink.
Everything in the poem suggests that what is taking place inside the
speakers head is more important (and more real) than what is going on
outside it. The poem takes feelings (such as the idea that the sun is
disturbing you in the morning) and makes them into concrete realities.
The poem is highlighting a universal truth that everyone feels that the
world revolves around them when they fall in love!

5.) What are the hyperbolic (exaggerated) assertions in the poem?
The Sun Rising is built around a few hyperbolic assertionsfirst, that
the sun is conscious and has the watchful personality of an old busybody;
second, that love, as the speaker puts it, no season knows, nor clime, /
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time; third, that the
speakers love affair is so important to the universe that kings and princes
simply copy it, that the world is literally contained within their bedroom.
Of course, each of these assertions simply describes figuratively a state of
feelingto the wakeful lover, the rising sun does seem like an intruder,
irrelevant to the operations of love; to the man in love, the bedroom can
seem to enclose all the matters in the world. The inspiration of this poem
is to pretend that each of these subjective states of feeling is an objective

6.) What are the different themes covered in the poem?
While many discuss its main themes of Love, Time, Space, Measurement,
Astrology, Astronomy, Age and Youth one must agree that The Sunne
Rising is one of the poet's warmest brightest works about Love. Among
its various themes are:
a.) Theme of Love Through his theme of Love, the poet wants to know why
the behaviour of two young lovers must be dictated by calendars and
time. He mainly wants to emphasise that the lovers live in a world of their
own, and it is sinful, on part of even nature to disturb the harmony and
warmth that exists between them. He asserts that love has no set season or
schedule and that 'hours, days, months are the rags of time.'
b.) Theme of Physical Love Donne uses the imagery of the sun as an old,
senile person who cannot understand the vigor and passion of young
lovers. By drawing such a contrast, he is trying to prove to his lover that
he is a very passionate lover, and his impatience with the sun, whose
presence he sees as an intruding nuisance to love making, intensifies his
feelings of lust for his lover.
c.) Theme of Light and Dark - Referring to the theme of Light and Dark,
Donne pours scorn on the strength of the sun and the brightness of its
rays, vowing that he would sooner eclipse them with ease (just by
shutting his eyes) than lose sight of his dearly beloved for even so much as
a 'wink' of time.
d.) Theme of the Exotic - To the idea of sauciness is then added the spiciness
of images from the exotic Indias. Donne challenges the sun to say whether
their charms equal those of the girl he loves.
e.) Theme of Royalty - Donne equates himself with the princes with whom
the sun is acquainted, in terms of the riches he has in his own princess,
and he seems to be aware of her generosity to other 'princes.' She has been
quite free with her favors, it seems. He seems philosophical about this
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f.) Theme of Age Towards the end of the poem Donne seems to reconcile
with the Sun suggesting that its only retirement task need be to keep the
happy couple sunlit and warm in their own little world.
g.) Theme of Astrology - t the end of the poem, Donne returns again to one of
his key themes - astrology. In Donne's time this was considered as much
of a science as 'astronomy' - indeed the two were interlinked. 'This bed thy
center is, these walls thy sphere' reflect the controversial belief that the
earth was the centre of the universe and that other heavenly bodies
orbited around it. In their bliss, the sweethearts are oblivious and
everything like planets or walls, revolves around them. Admiration of the
sun around this time was a risky business for Christians as it conflicted
with belief in God's power and verged on worship.


Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

1.) Give a detailed summary of the poem Go and catche a falling star?
This is a poem by John Donne in which he argues that it is impossible
to find a woman who is both attractive and faithful to the one man.
In the first stanza Donne states a number of impossible tasks. He
compares finding an honest woman to these tasks. He cleverly states that
to find a woman who is honest in love is as difficult as it is to catch a
falling star. The impossible tasks also include conceiving a child with a
mandrake plant, gaining full knowledge of the past, solving the mystery
of the Devils cloven hoof and learning the knack of hearing mermaids
singing. In a sarcastic comment Donne says that finding an honest woman
is as difficult as living without the pain of envy. Envy is the greed and lust
of other people who would secretly long for his woman. He adds
sarcastically to the list of impossible tasks the task of finding the wind that
brings prosperity to those who are of honest mind. He means that only
dishonest people do well, that to have an honest mind is to fail.
In the second stanza the subject matter is an imaginary journey of ten
thousand days. Donne imagines a seeker spending a lifetime, until he has
grey hairs, looking for an honest woman. Donne believes that despite all
the strange sights the traveller will see, he wont come across an honest
In the third stanza the thought changes to the more positive idea of
finding an honest woman. If the traveller finds one, he is to report her
immediately. Donne says such a journey, pilgrimage, would be sweet.
But then Donne changes his mind and says he wouldnt travel next door
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to meet her as by the time he arrives even that far she will have slept with
two or three other men. He says a woman would only remain honest at
most for as long as it takes to write the letter saying you have found her.

2. What are the various themes in the poem Go catche a falling star?
The various themes in the poem are:
a. Myth The poet speaks about the root of the mandrake plant and the
belief that it can help conceive a child. He also speaks about the
song of the mythical creatures called mermaids who were
supposed to attract sailors and enchant the.
b. Impossibility of Certain Tasks Donne begins the poem by asking the
reader to chase a falling star, and wishes one to say that it is practically
impossible to do so. On this note he sets to prove that similarly it is
impossible to find a beautiful woman who is honest and can be loyal to
her partner.
c. Deceit The tone of the poem is one of retaliation by a rejected lover,
who feels that the woman he loved has deceived him, by neglecting his
feelings and going after someone else
d. Lust and Envy Both these are linked with human emotions. One who
lusts for a woman will definitely envy her lover, and it is difficult to tell
here whether John Donne is lusting after the woman who has chosen
someone else as her lover, or whether he is blaming another man for
being envious of his beautiful lady love and stealing her.
e. Religion - Despite his carnal expression, Donne was deeply religious, and
his reference here to the Devils cloven foot, especially who could have
split it (the rhetorical answer is God himself!), and to the sight of an
honest and virtuous woman as being similar to going on a holy
pilgrimage, prove that he had a deep connect with Religion.
2.) Comment on the different tones that the poet uses in the poem?
Donne uses several types of tones to express his despair & inner turmoil.
These can be seen as:
a.) Sometimes the tone is magical: Go and catch a falling star.
b.) Sometimes the tone is harsh and cruel:Get with child a mandrake
c.) Sometimes the tone is bitter: And swear, no where lives a woman
true, and fair
d.) Sometimes the tone is self-pitying: envy's stinging.
e.) Sometimes the tone is petulant [bitchy]:I would not go, though at
next door we might meet.
f.) Sometimes the tone is mocking: If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see
g.) Sometimes the tone is commanding: Go GetTellTeach
h.) Sometimes the tone is hopeful and caring: If thou find'st one, let me
know, Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
i.) Sometimes the tone is resentful: I would not go, though at next door
we might meet
j.) Finally the tone is sour: Yet she will be false, ere I come, to two, or
3.) Write a brief note on the Imagery in the poem?
Like a typical Metaphysical poet, Donne uses a lot of comparative and
contrasting imagery to create strong pictures in the minds of the readers.
Some of the comparisons are - He compares an honest female woman to
something impossible and magical like a falling star. He compares
finding such a woman to hearing mermaids singing or to solving
impossible mysteries like knowing the past or explaining the cause of the
devils hoof. His most seemingly apparent contrast is between a woman
true, and fair and a woman who Will be false, ere I come, to two, or
Donnes images are very vivid and dramatic i.e.,Ride ten thousand
days and nights, Till age snow white hairs on thee. He also uses
exaggeration as in Go and catch a falling star, and Though she were
true, when you met her,Yet she will be false, ere I come, to two, or
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Donnes poem is startling and dramatic and use of images like
chasing and catching a falling star, begetting a child using a mandrake
root, or solving the mystery of the devils cloven feet, or even mermaids
singing their songs immediately draw the attention of the reader and help
juxtapose the unreality of these situations, with the hopelessness and
despair riding the poets mind.

4.) Comment on the Rhyme Scheme and the Structure of the poem?
Donne's poem is very simple in form. All three stanzas would appear
to follow the same rhyme scheme (ABAB CC DDD); however, one rhyme
sound crops up more than it would be expected to in the second stanza
(EFEF FF GGG) and appears again in the third (HIHI JJ FFF). This
repetition lends a sense of unity to the poem, and will also serve a
rhetorical purpose.
The rhyming has a regular pattern [The first and third lines rhyme, the
second and fourth lines rhyme, the fifth and sixth lines rhyme as a couplet
and the last three lines rhyme at the end of each stanza].

The end sounds in the first stanza are as follows:

ar, oot, are, oot, ing, ing, ind, ind, ind.
The end sounds in the second stanza are as follows:
ights, see, ights, thee, me, thee, ear, ere, air
The end sounds in the third stanza are as follows:
ow, eet. go, eet, er, er, she, be, ee

There is also use of Alliteration [the repetition of first letters]in the poem.
Eg. Consonance - The repeated b and 's sounds in If thou be'st born to
strange sights.
Assonance: The a' sounds in Go and catch a falling star.

5.) Give a detailed analysis of the first stanza of the poem?
The speaker takes an imperative tone from the very beginning, bidding
an addressee accomplish several impossible things and, along the way,
find / What wind / Serves to advance an honest mind (1-9). The
impossibility of this final task is thus implied. But, more than that, the
preceding imagery lends such a discovery an unnatural and even an evil
character. The mandrake root (2) and Devils foot (4) both have
obvious negative connotations. To hear the mermaids singing would be a
death sentence (5n), and even the falling star could be associated with
Lucifer (1).
Even more interestingly, the verbs attached to these images are active
ones, tending to involve the addressee in a dominating relationship with
them (to catch, to cleave, and to impregnate). To find the wind that
advance[s] the honest mind (7-9) would therefore paradoxically
require a perverse character to do the searching, a person who would be
willing to vitally enmesh himself with dire and occult knowledge.

6.) Give a detailed analysis of the second stanza of the poem?
Following through on this thought, Donne calls upon one born to
strange sights, who would see even invisible things, to go on this quest
(10-11). But for all this favorable disposition to seeing the rare and elusive,
Donne assures us that the addressee could travel until he is elderly, and
see many strange things indeed, but not find a woman true, and fair
Donne here reveals that this was the particular kind of honest mind
he was referring to in the first stanza, and so might imply that honest men
are not so hard to find. Similarly, the grouping together of the words
true and fair suggests that one could find a true woman, the proviso
being that she is unattractive (and so privy to fewer opportunities for
licentiousness). In other words, any woman would be untrue if she
could; the natural state of woman is wantonness.
In these same lines, a repetition of the F rhyming sound (me,
thee), where the reader would expect a new sound, underscores
Donnes argument in making the progression of thought feel closed,
claustrophobic: no matter where one roams in the world / stanza, one
comes upon the same kind of sound / woman.
7.) Give a detailed analysis of the third stanza of the poem?
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Donne even provides for the unlikely event of the addressee
finding a true woman, and so having completed a sweet pilgrimage (20)
as opposed to the demonic, dreadful journey described in the first
stanza. Notable, here, is that womans faithfulness or unfaithfulness, in
being equated with either unnaturalness or naturalness, actually has
the power to shape the world that the addressee encounters.
That is, if the journey is sweet that ends with a faithful woman,
then getting with child a mandrake root, and all the other odd things
Donne listed at the beginning, could really turn out to be pleasant
pastimes. Donnes reasoning in this poem is black and white: either hes
right to believe ill of all women, or else all the accepted ideas about the
Devil, and shrieking plants, and murderous mermaids, are incorrect.
In driving this point home, he reminds the addressee that
true is a time-sensitive adjective that a woman who was true for a
particular time is likely, even guaranteed to be false should some time
pass (23-27). Again a womans faithfulness is ascribed to a lack of
opportunity to act otherwise, since Donne is postulating that the woman
in question has been false since the addressee left her (i.e., he is no longer
there to keep an eye on her).
From harmony,[1] from heavenly harmony
This universal frame[2] began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head, 5
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
"Arise, ye more than dead!"
Then cold and hot and moist and dry
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's power obey. 10
From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began;
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.[3] 15

What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
When Jubal[4] struck the corded shell,[5]
His list'ning brethren stood around,
And, wond'ring, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound, 20
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?

The trumpet's loud clangor 25
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.[6]
The double double double beat
Of the thundering drum 30
Cries, "Hark, the foes come!
Charge, charge, 't is too late to retreat!"

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers[7]
The woes of hopeless lovers, 35
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains and height of passion, 40
For the fair disdainful dame.

But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love, 45
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend[8] the choirs above.
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Orpheus[9] could lead the savage race,
And trees unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre; 50
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight[10] appeared--
Mistaking earth for heaven.

As from the power of sacred lays 55
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the blest above:
So, when the last and dreadful hour[11]
This crumbling pageant shall devour, 60
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

Word Meanings:
[1.] From harmony, etc. Some of the ancients believed that music
helped in the creation of the heavenly bodies, and that their motions
were accompanied by a harmony known as "the music of the spheres."
[2.] This universal frame, the visible universe.
[3.] The diapason, etc. The diapason means here the entire compass
of tones. The idea is that in man, the highest of God's creatures,
are included all the virtues and powers of the lower creation.
[4.] Jubal. It is said of Jubal: "He was the father of all such as
handle the harp and organ."--Genesis iv, 21.
[5.] The corded shell, i.e. the lyre. The first lyre was supposed to
have been formed by drawing strings over a tortoise shell.
[6.] Mortal alarms, i.e. notes that rouse men to deadly conflict.
[7.] Discovers, reveals.
[8.] Mend, amend, improve.
[9.] Orpheus is said to have been a Thracian poet who moved rocks and
trees and tamed wild beasts by playing upon his lyre.
[10.] Straight, straightway, immediately.
[11.] The last and dreadful hour, the Day of Judgment.
1.) What is the theme of the poem?
The theme of this poem is musics ability to play on human emotions:
humans can be overwhelmed by various kinds of music. It depicts
musics influence and power. The poem speaks about music as being very
important, and, in specific, music as instrumental during the creation of
the world.

2.) How does Dryden explore the theme of Order through this poem?
The two ways in which Dryden typically explores the theme of order are
(1) He imposes order upon disorder and (2) he shows that order in
man and in society is at one with an all- encompassing universal
order. Just as the king orders society in Drydens Absalom and
Achitophel and the satirist imposes order upon false literary
standards in his Mac Flecknoe,so in A Song for St. Cecilias
Day, music is said to bring order to the universe. Song itself
follows a specific time order moving from the Day of Creation to
the Day of Judgment. It begins with the creation of the universe in
stanza 1: From harmony, from heavenly harmony
/ This universal frame [the cosmos] began (1-2). The poem ends
with the Day of Judgment or the end of time: So, when the last
and dreadful hour / This crumbling pagent shall devour/ . .
And music shall untune the sky (59-63).

3.) Comment on the style of this poem?
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This poem is a grand but playful ode to music. The opening stanza sees
music as an aspect or incarnation of divinity in self-begetting genesis. The
later stanzas can be seen to carry this Biblical metaphor through Christian
history until the Grand Chorus where music heralds the apocalypse.
Intricate rhyme scheme and mirroring lines, together with varied line
lengths create a frame and strive for a lyrical effect. Stanza structures
throughout the poem are suggestive of the forms and frames of musical
instruments. By celebrating arts power to affect us but also imposing a
moral framework, this poem seeks to depict how music can be both a
route to heaven and a herald of destruction.

4.) Describe the structure of the poem?
The poem has seven stanzas and a concluding Grand Chorus.

STANZA 1: As noted earlier, this stanza deals with the creation of the
universe by God. .
His tuneful voice put in order the heap / Of jarring atoms of
disordered Nature. The Great Chain of Beingseen here as the
diapason or the entire range of a musical instrument, from the highest
note to the lowestculminates in man,created last and therefore
completing the Chain.
STANZA 2: The opening line of this stanza (repeated in its closing line)
states the thesis of the
poem: What passion cannot music raise and quell!. Stanzas 3-6 will
develop this thesis by listing types of musical instruments, each of which
arouses a different passion. This stanza celebrates Jubalour word
jubilant comes from his namewho, Genesis 4.21 states,
discovered the first musical instrument, a shell.
STANZA 3-6: Stanza 3 deals with two musical instruments, the trumpet
and the drum, both of which arouse the passion of warlike courage.
Stanza 4 mentions that the flute and the Lute are
the instruments of lovers, since they capture the sorrow of unrequited
love. Stanza 5 deals with the violin, an instrument which captures the
passionate pangs and fury of jealousy (38-39). Stanza 6 celebrates the
Organ which inspires holy love (45), the impulse to worship God.
STANZA 7: In stanza 7, Dryden compares the musical power of St. Cecilia
to that of the mythological figure Orpheus. St. Cecilia is shown to be the
superior of the two. With the power of his lyre, Orpheus could lead
angel the savage race (48), but upon hearing the organ of St. Cecilia,
An heaven . . . [mistook] earth for Cecilia (53-54). Thus as a musician,
Orpheus, a pagan terrestrial symbol, is no match for St. Cecilia, the
Christian celestial symbol in this
LAST STANZA: As mentioned earlier, this last stanza deals with the Day
of the Last judgment and thus contrasts with Stanza 1, which celebrates
the Day of Creation. This stanza uses the
musical instrument of Stanza 3, the trumpet, since 1 Cor. 15.52 mentions
the last trump,which will announce the Resurrection and the Last

5.) What is the occasion for the song?
John Dryden wrote A Song for St. Cecilias Day to honor St. Cecilia, a
third-century Christian martyr who became the patroness of music and
reportedly invented the organ, by celebrating
and glorifying music. Each of the poems seven stanzas furthers this
purpose. Not only was this poem written as an ode to the goddess of
music, but it was also composed to be musically performed on the
November of 1687 for the annual feast of a society that celebrated the
power of music.

6.) What musical instruments are used in the poem? What actually is the
Stanza 1 claims that from harmony, from Heavnly harmony this
universal frame began. This stanza tells the reader two things: first, that
music is powerful, and second, that music is primeval. This knowledge
informs the reader that, in general, music is very important, and, in
specific, music was instrumental during the creation of the world.
Stanza 2 accomplishes a similar purpose. Dryden repeats the line What
passion cannot music raise and quell! two times. This line is designed to
reinforce the earlier statement about musics power. However, Stanza 2
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goes farther than Stanza 1, declaring that music not only was powerful at
the beginning of time, but that it is currently powerful, that it is immanent
and that it influences human emotions and actions in the present.
Stanzas 3-6 expand on the messages of the first two stanzas by describing
the effects produced by specific instruments: trumpets, drums, flutes,
lutes, violins, and organs. The seventh and last stanza praises St. Cecilia
herself: When to her [St. Cecilias] organ, vocal
breath was given/An angel heard and straight appeared/Mistaking earth
for Heavn. So, the poem concludes by saying that the beauty of earthly
music competes with the beauty of Heaven.

7.) What effect can each instrument bring when played?
Stanza 3 is about drums and trumpets and how these instruments serve as
calls to war and expressions of human anger, violence, and justice. In
Stanza 4, the focus is on human sorrowas Dryden writes of the soft
complaining flute. The more tempestuous human emotions are discussed
in Stanza 5, as Dryden describes the sounds of violins. Finally, in Stanza
6, Dryden describes the organ, and how it plays holy, religious music.
The contrasts in these poems show the reader that music influences
human wars, human sorrow, human emotion, and human religion.

8.) In stanza 7 in order to reinforce how touching the music can be what
mythological figure does the poet use? What is the comparison of this
figure with St. Cecilia?
In the seventh stanza Dryden mentions a mythical figure, he refers to
Orpheus who had convinced the god of the underworld to bring back his
Eurydice just by playing a song on his lyre. The poet then makes another
reference to the organ and its divine association, he does this to introduce
the central figure of the poem: St. Cecilia. What Dryden is trying to say
here is that according to him, St. Cecilia was much braver and had
performed a much greater miracle by attracting an angel who mistook
earth for heaven by listening to her music. She is in fact greater and more
amazing than Orpheus because she incites us to Christianity.


9.) What is the theme of the Grand Chorus?
The last stanza of the poem makes a prophecy. The celestial bodies or
spheres have been put into motion by the harmony that ordered the
universe, so the universe was created from the power of this musical
harmony. Likewise, the universe will cease to exist when the harmony
also ceases to exist.

10.) Explain the paradox of the last line of the poem, And Music shall
untune the sky?
A paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement, such as Music shall
untune. Music, which began creation, will end (untune) the existence
of that creation by transcending the creating world, since all human
beings will be sent to Heaven or Hell.

English literature 45



1.) Give a brief Summary of the poem?
Ans The renowned saint poet Kabir says that no one should ask a saint what
caste or religion he belongs to. The only religion of a saint is Godliness
and his only duty is to Worship God. Indian Caste system divides the
hindu people into four Varnas: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and
Shudras. Kabir says that all of the above believe in God and want his
grace. He then says that barbers, washerwomen, carpenters all want to
devote their lives to God, even though they are not born as Brahmins.
Similarly, Saint Raidas was a leather worker and Rishi Swapacha was a
tanner by birth. But through the goodness of their hearts, their kind deeds,
and their deep faith in God, they became spiritual gurus. Kabir ends the
poem by saying that not just Hindus but even muslims have realized the
worth of true worship and their common respect for these holy men
unites them.

2.) It is needless to ask of a saint the caste to which he belongs;
For the priest, the warrior, the tradesman, and all the thirty-six castes,
alike are seeking for God. It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint
may be;
We should not ask a saint or a holy person what caste he belongs to, or
what religion he follows.The Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and
Shudras, all have a common goal, to find solace in God, and seek his
grace. One who questions a holy person about his caste, is

3.) The barber has sought God, the washer-woman, and the carpenter
Even Raidas was a seeker after God.
The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner by caste.
English literature 47
Ans It is not just priests or those who are Brahmins by birth, who want to
devote themselves to God. Even people from low castes and different
professions like barbers, washer-woman, carpenter believe in the presence
of God, and want to serve him in some way or the other. Guru Ravidas
and Rishi Swapacha , both belonged to low caste. But they gave up their
professions and gave their life to the devotion of God. Today, everyone
respects them as holy men.

4.) Explain the line Hindus and Moslems alike have achieved that End,
where remains no mark of distinction, with reference to the poet
Kabirs own background?
Ans Little is known about Kabirs birth and parents. It is said that he was
found as an abandoned baby by a muslim weaver, in Benaras, who took
him home. From early childhood Kabir was very religious. He studied
Islam and was impressed by the Sufis. However, he was also deeply
attracted to the Hindu philosophy. After much difficulty he became a
disciple or shishya of Guru Ramananda.

Having studied about Hinduism and Islam together, and being deeply
attached to God, Kabir realized that the main purpose of all religions is to
be a good human being, and to serve God. So he feels that both the
religions may believe in different forms of Gods, but they are united in
their belief that one should be devoted to God. This is what he expresses
in the last line of the above poem.

5.) What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans The poem has no definite rhyme scheme. It is written in free verse, and is
a translation in hindi by Rabindra Nath Tagore.

1.) Needless Not important, Useless
2.) Alike In the same way
3.) Seeking Trying to find
4.) Folly Foolishness
5.) Sought Trying to Find (Past tense of Seek)
6.) Barber A person who cuts, styles and shaves males hair
7.) Carpenter A Person who makes furniture out of wood
8.) Tanner a Person who makes footwear and other items from leather,
or dead animal skin
9.) Distinction Difference


1.) Write a brief summary of the poem Where the mind is without Fear?
The poem is the dream of a poet for his nation. It is a prayer to God to give
the people of his nation a new strength so that they can live without the
fear of being controlled by other people. Tagore dreams of a world where
everyone feels free to think what is right and what is wrong, be truthful,
and learn new things (gain knowledge freely). He wishes his countrymen
to leave all social differences behind and move into a world where one is
judged by only his actions. People should not lead dull, boring lives but
reason, and find new solutions for the changing situations. Only when
they live in such a free world or heaven, as he calls it, will they be able to
progress in life and achieve new things.

2.) Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Ans In these lines the poet expresses his dream of an ideal county. He says that
the mind should be free from all fears of being controlled by others, or
being burdened by expectations. We should all be able to walk with
dignity, and now lower our heads in shame. Everyone should have the
right to educate themselves, and have the means and equipment to learn
English literature 49
more and more. Our traditional social views and customs, should not
restrict us, or divide the society on basis of caste and religion. Such is the
change he imagines for our country.

3.) Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Ans The poet wishes to live in a country where people always speak the truth.
He says his country should be such that if we work consistently, and with
full dedication, then we should all be able to achieve perfection in our
work. He compares thoughts and the human ability to reason, as being
streams because, just like free flowing water, our creative thoughts keep
flowing through our minds all the time. His dream of an ideal nation is
where people are able to think new things and find new ways for their
solutions, and do not become slaves of dull, boring daily routines. He
compares such boring routines to dead habits or habits that are

4.) Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Ans The poet prays to God to guide his country his countrymen to think of
novel ideas that can inspire them to progress in life. Such a life, feels the
poet, will be truly progressive. The poet wishes God to lead his county
into such a heaven of positivity and advancement.

5.) What is the theme of the poem?
Ans The theme of the poem is to free our minds from negative thoughts, and
educate ourselves so that we can keep progressing in life, and can live in
harmony with people from different cultures and religions.

6.) What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans There is no definite rhyme scheme in the poem. It is written in free verse.

7.) What are the poetic devices used in the poem Where the Mind is
Without Fear?
Ans The following poetic devices have been used in the poem:
a.) Anaphora Repetition of the word Where at the beginning of
Lines 1-3, and 5-7. Also repetition of word Into at the beginning of
lines 8,10,11.
b.) Consonance Repetition of Consonant sounds in Head is held
high (Line 1); Where words come... (Line 5); striving stretches
(Line 6); desert sand of dead habit (Line 8)
c.) Visual Imagery images that can be visualized by the reader e.g..,
Broken up into fragments(Line 2); narrow domestic walls (Line
3); stretches its arms (Line 6); clear stream (Line 7); Dreary
Desert Sand (Line 8); letawake (Line 11).
d.) Tactile imagery Images that give the reader the sensation of touch
e.g., led forward by thee (Line 9); tireless striving (Line 6)
e.) Metaphor A comparison between essentially unlike things
without comparative word such as like or as. e.g., dreary desert
sand of dead habit (Line 8)
f.) Personification Giving inanimate objects or abstract qualities a
human form e.g., mind is led forward by thee into ever widening
though and action (Lines 9-10); striving stretches its arms towards
perfection (Line 6)

1.) Fragments Small pieces
2.) Narrow Small, not to wide, old-fashioned
3.) Domestic Internal, Within the same house/set of people
4.) Depth Deep Inside, Seriousness
5.) Tireless Unending, Continuous
6.) Striving Moving Ahead, Progressing
7.) Dreary Dull, Boring, Monotonous
8.) Ever- Widening Constantly expanding, evolving, progressing
English literature 51
Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long, long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. "The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien"--
"But is the lily lovelier?" Thus between
Flower-factions rang the strife in Psyche's bower.
"Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride"--
"But of what colour?"--"Rose-red," Love first chose,
Then prayed,--"No, lily-white,--or, both provide;"
And Flora gave the lotus, "rose-red" dyed,
And "lily-white,"--the queenliest flower that blows.

Q1. Analyse the Poem The Lotus?
Ans In this poem, Toru Dutt presents the idea that the Indian Lotus is the
most beautiful of all flowers. For a long time, Lily and Rose had been
fighting for the title 'Queen of flowers.' Each flower with its own support
from poets, claimed for the title. At this time, God of Love came to
Goddess Flora asking for a flower, which would be the unchallenged
queen of flowers. She wanted for a flower, which was stately as the Lily
and as delicious as the Rose. Goddess Flora gave God of Love the Lotus
Flower and resolved the long standing quarrel between Lily and Rose.
Great poets supported the flowers according to their wish, and some poets
even raised the doubt if the lily was more beautiful than the rose. Lotus
combines the redness of the rose with the paleness of the lily. Goddess
Flora created Lotus, which was both rose red and lily white.
Another thing to note is that the lotus is a flower of significance both to
Indian and the Hindu religion. We can understand Toru Dutt's affection
for an Indian flower and also she wanted to establish the superiority of
Hindu religion over other religions in the world. As Toru Dutt was
brought up and educated abroad, she always turned to classical
mythology to establish her stand. Fond of Hindu myth but raised a
Christian, loving both France and India, she illustrates the influence that
colonialism had on many writers seeking an audience as she expresses her
love for her home in English, which was not even her second language.
2.) Discuss "The Lotus" by Toru Dutt as a Petrarchan sonnet.
Ans The poem, 'The Lotus' is a sonnet in the Petrarchan type. The sonnet is
divided into two divisions, the Octave and the Sestet. The octave consists
of eight lines and the sestet consists of six lines. A sonnet deals with a
single idea, the octave proposing and the sestet resolving. Within 14 lines
of the sonnet, Toru Dutt raises a problem in the Octave and resolves it in
the sestet.
There is a turn in the logical progression of the subject at the line 9 volta.
Here, the general discussion between "flower factions" in Psyche's garden
turns to direct dialogue between Love and Flora: "'Give me a flower
delicious as the rose ....'" The sestet resolution to the problem between
Love and Flora is presented as a surprise twist when Flora offers the lotus:

And Flora gave the lotus, "rose-red" dyed.
And "lily-white,"--the queenliest flower that blows.
The rhyme scheme is abbaacca dedeed. There is no ending couplet though
there is an ee couplet in the sestet.

Petrarchan structure is similar though there are some variations.
Petrarchan sonnets are fourteen lines written in an octave and sestet.
There is a turn in the logic of the subject at the line 9 called
volta. Petrachan resolution usually presents a paradoxical twist.
Petrarchan rhyme scheme for the octave is an invariable abbaabba. The
sestet may be one of many combinations of cde endings including cddcdc
cdeced cdcedc.

"The Lotus" is like Petrarchan sonnets in that it has the octave-sestet
structure. It also has the turn in logic at the volta and paradoxical twist
English literature 53
resolution. The rhyme scheme of the octave varies from the Petrarchan
abbaabba (with three couplets) scheme. This variation creates a deviation
in the sestet rhyme scheme. Since /c/ is already in the octave, the sestet
must be structured around /d/: dedeed.

This abbaacca rhyme scheme was developed by William Wordsworth.
Since Dutt (March 4, 1856) was born close to one hundred after
Wordsworth (April 7, 1770), and since she attended lectures for women at
Cambridge in England, it is probable that she intentionally borrowed
Wordworth's variation for her own poetry. In summary, Dutt's sonnet has
many features that adhere to Petrarchan sonnet form though she opts for
the Wordsworthian rhyme scheme thus varying and deviating from the
Petrarchan scheme.
3.) Explain the meaning of the following lines:
Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long, long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. "The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien"--
"But is the lily lovelier?" Thus between
Flower-factions rang the strife in Psyche's bower.
Ans God of Love Cupid visited Goddess of Nature Flora because he wanted a
flower that could represent him, and be regarded as the most beautiful
flower in the world. So far people had either regarded the rose or the lily
with the same passion. Even poets had praised these flowers through their
verse. His counterpart Psyches garden of flowers itself was divided on
the opinion whether rose was more lovelier or lily more graceful.
4.) Explain the meaning of the following lines:
"Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride"--
"But of what colour?"--"Rose-red," Love first chose,
Then prayed,--"No, lily-white,--or, both provide;"
And Flora gave the lotus, "rose-red" dyed,
And "lily-white,"--the queenliest flower that blows.
Ans Cupid asked Goddess Flora to give him a flower as beautiful as Rose and
as Majestic as a Lily, When Flora asked him to choose a colour for the
flower, he was unsure whether red(rose) would look best or white(lily). So
Flora created a flower that was pink (red+white) and was as delicious as
the rose and as stately as the Lily. It called Lotus, and ever since, Toru
Dutt regards, it is the most beautiful flower in the world.
5.) What are the poetic devices used in the poem?
Ans Some of the poetic devices used are:
1.) Epizeuxis (repetition of word) long, long (Line 3)
2.) Enjambment (run on lines) - The lily and the rose, long, long had
been Rivals for that high honour. Bards of powerHad sung their
claims. "The rose can never tower Like the pale lily with her Juno
3.) Consonance (Consonant Alliteration) Floraflower(Line 1); Lily
lovelier (Line 7); Rose-red (Line 11, 13)
4.) Anaphora Repitition of words And at beginning of Lines 13 and
5.) Personification Love is personified in the entire poem; Psyche is
personified in Line 8
6.) Similie Delicious as the Rose (Line 9); Stately as the Lily (Line
7.) Diacope (Repitition of same word in same sentence) The lily and
the rose
8.) Proparalepsis (adding letters to the end of a word)
queenliest(Line 14)

1) Undisputed Without any doubt, Unquestionable
2) Rival Enemy, Opponent
3) Honour Respect, Reputation
4) Bards Poets
5) Claims Declaration
English literature 55
6) Juno - Chief Roman Goddess
7) Mien Manner of behavior, Dignified Appearance
8) Faction Group, Section of People
9) Strife Quarrel
10) Psyche Cupids Love Interest
11) Bower - a shelter made of leave, an overhead creeper
12) Stately Grand, Noble, Majestic
LIKE a huge Python, winding round and round
The rugged trunk, indented deep with scars,
Up to its very summit near the stars,
A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound
No other tree could live. But gallantly
The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are hung
In crimson clusters all the boughs among,
Whereon all day are gathered bird and bee;
And oft at nights the garden overflows
With one sweet song that seems to have no close,
Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.

When first my casement is wide open thrown
At dawn, my eyes delighted on it rest;
Sometimes, and most in winter,on its crest
A gray baboon sits statue-like alone
Watching the sunrise; while on lower boughs
His puny offspring leap about and play;
And far and near kokilas hail the day;
And to their pastures wend our sleepy cows;
And in the shadow, on the broad tank cast
By that hoar tree, so beautiful and vast,
The water-lilies spring, like snow enmassed.

But not because of its magnificence
Dear is the Casuarina to my soul:
Beneath it we have played; though years may roll,
O sweet companions, loved with love intense,
For your sakes, shall the tree be ever dear.
Blent with your images, it shall arise
In memory, till the hot tears blind mine eyes!
What is that dirge-like murmur that I hear
Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach?
It is the trees lament, an eerie speech,
That haply to the unknown land may reach.

Unknown, yet well-known to the eye of faith!
Ah, I have heard that wail far, far away
In distant lands, by many a sheltered bay,
When slumbered in his cave the water-wraith
And the waves gently kissed the classic shore
Of France or Italy, beneath the moon,
When earth lay trancd in a dreamless swoon:
And every time the music rose,before
Mine inner vision rose a form sublime,
Thy form, O Tree, as in my happy prime
I saw thee, in my own loved native clime.

Therefore I fain would consecrate a lay
Unto thy honor, Tree, beloved of those
Who now in blessed sleep for aye repose,
Dearer than life to me, alas, were they!
Mayst thou be numbered when my days are done
With deathless treeslike those in Borrowdale,
Under whose awful branches lingered pale
Fear, trembling Hope, and Death, the skeleton,
And Time the shadow; and though weak the verse
That would thy beauty fain, oh, fain rehearse,
May Love defend thee from Oblivions curse.
1.) Elaborate on the theme of the poem?
Ans Toru Dutt has used the image of the tree which she fondly remembers
in recalling memories of her childhood where "Beneath it we have
English literature 57
played." The tree is strong and "... gallantly The giant wears the scarf,"
which is significant as she has identified with the tree and its ability to
withstand even the harshest creeper which has the capacity to choke the
tree "LIKE a huge Python." In understanding the tone and theme of Our
Casuarina Tree, the reader sympathizes with Toru Dutt's words as she
longs to revisit memories without the painful association, as it is not only
the tree that is "deep with scars."
To the narrator, the tree represents nature and nature shares feeling
and emotions and, in fact," the trees lament" comforts the narrator as she
"saw thee, in my own loved native clime." This also links to the tree as
representative of her culture as she is far away in "distant lands," but is
safe in the knowledge that the tree shall "be ever dear" due to her
recollections of her childhood and her loved ones "Who now in blessed
sleep for aye repose."
The tree represents all life as "all day are gathered bird and
bee"and "to their pastures wend our sleepy cows" and it has the capacity
to unite all things together to the point that this theme of unity with her
past and therefore her family, her beloved country and even the future as
she wishes that "may Love defend thee" is confirmed. When she is dead,
the tree is so strong and represents so much that she hopes it will be saved
from "Oblivion."
2.) Give brief summary of the poem Our Casuarina Tree?
Ans The poem begins with the description of the tree. The poet says that the
creeper has wound itself round the rugged trunk of the Casuarina Tree,
like a huge Python. The creeper has left deep marks on the trunk of the
tree. The tree is so strong that it bears the tight hold of the creeper. The
tree is described as being gallant, and possibly brave, as very few trees
could survive in the strangle-hold of this creeper. The poet then goes on to
describe the life that thrives amidst every facet of the tree.
The tree is metaphorical said as a giant due to its huge size, strength
and boldness. The Casuarina Tree is covered with creeper which bears red
crimson flowers which appear as though the tree is wearing a colorful
scarf. Often at night, the garden echoes and it seems to be jubilant and the
song (of a nightingale) has no end; it continues till dawn. At dawn when
the poet opens her window she is delighted to see the Casuarina Tree.
Mostly in winters a gray baboon is seen sitting on the crest of the tree
seeing the sunrise with her younger ones leaping and playing in the tree's
boughs. The shadow of the tree appears to fall on the huge water tank.
Toru Dutt says that its not because of the majestic appearance of the
Casuarina Tree that it is dear to her heart and soul, but also that she along
with her siblings spent happy moments under it. Toru Dutt has brought
out the theme of nature as something that shares feeling with humans,
that lightens the burden on the heart. The poet continues with a
description of how strong the image of the tree is, even when in lands far
away. Even in France and Italy (where the poet studied), she can hear the
tree's lament. The poet wishes to consecrate the tree's memory and
importance for the sake of those who are now dead - and looks ahead to
her own death, hoping that the tree be spared obscurity (or that no-one
will remember it).
She immortalizes the tree through this poem like how Wordsworth
sanctified the Yew trees of Borrowdale. She says "May love protect thee
from Oblivion's curse'"- by which she means that she is glad that her love
for the Casuarina will protect it from the curse of being forgotten.

3.) Critically examine the poem Our Casuarina Tree?
Ans Our Casuarina Tree is an autobiographical poem . While living abroad ,
she is pining for the scenes of her native land and reliving the memories of
childhood . In the first part of the poem the poet depicts the Casuarina
Tree trailed by a creeper vine like a huge python , winding round and
round with the rough trunk , sunken deep with scars . It reached to the
height touching the very summit of stars . The Casuarina Tree stood alone
unaccompanied in the compound . It was wearing the scarf of the creeper
hung with crimson cluster of flowers among the boughs accompanied by
the bird an hives of bees humming around .
The tree is dear to the poet because it is the solo bod between the poets
past and present , when she recalls it a chain of pleasant and poignant
memories to her mind and again she tastes the flavour of her childhood .
In her imagination she is again transported to the golden age and hears
the same cries , laughter and noise of her sweet departed playmates , this
tree reminds of her childhood friends who used to play with her under
this Casuarina Tree.
In this poem, Toru Dutt sings glories of the Casuarina tree and
describes it in detail. On the surface of it, it appears that it is all about the
English literature 59
Casuarina tree, but actually the tree is just a medium to link the poets
past with the present. The poet remembers the tree because of the many
happy memories of childhood days that are linked to it which are a source
of comfort and consolation to her in another country. The poem, therefore,
underlines the importance of memories in human life. The tree brings to
her mind the memories of time when she used to play under it in the
company of her brother and sister, both of whom are already dead. She
was very close to her dead brother and sister named Abju and Aru who
loved the Casuarina tree very greatly. So she loves the tree greatly. But
lost in the memories of her siblings who are now dead, she is looking
forward to death as an acceptable thing. The memories of her brother and
sister brings tears into her eyes.
She hopes that the tree will be remembered for ever as the yew trees of
Borrowdale immortalized by Wordsworth are still remembered. She
immortalizes the tree for the sake of her loved ones by writing a poem for

4.) What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans Although the poem has run on lines i.e., sentences do not end at the end of
a line, there is a definite rhyme scheme in the poem. He rhyming pattern
of the poem is abba.

5.) What are the poetic devices used in the poem?
Ans Some of the poetic devices used in the poem are:
1.) Metaphor - In the first stanza, the creeper which winds around the
Casuarina is compared to a python.This creeper is so strong that the
trees which are embraced by this creeper ends up dying.But the
Casuarina tree embraces it as a scarf. Again the creeper is being
compared to a scarf.
2.) Simile - In the second set of stanzas, we find similes as "A grey baboon
sits statue-like alone"(Line 16); "The water-lilies spring, like snow en-
massed"(Line 2)
3.) Personification - In the third stanza, we find that the tree is personified
as a person who laments for the poet's siblings. "What is that dirge-like
murmur that I hear
Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach?
It is the trees lament, an eerie speech,
That haply to the unknown land may reach"
(Lines 30-33) ; the giant wears the scarf (Line 6); waves gently
kissed(Line 38); the earth lay tranced in a dreamless moon (Line 40)
4.) Zoomorphism Describing the Vine in terms of an animal (Line 1) i.e.,
5.) Symbolism The Casuarina Tree is a symbol of Life, as Memory
6.) Allusion Yew trees of Borrowsdale (Reference to a kind of trees
made popular by Wordsworth in his earlier poetry)
7.) Consonance- Bird and Bee (Line 8); Watchingwhile (Line No. 16)
8.) Enjambment E.g. Lines 5-8; Lines 14-16;
9.) Rhetorical Question What is the dirge-like murmur that I hear?
Like the sea breaking on a shingle beach? (Lines 30-31)
10.) Epizeuxis far, far away (Line 35)

1.) Casuarina Tree- Oak like tree found in Australia. Here Toru Dutt
compares it to the Bater Tree that grew in their compound.
2.) Python Type of snake
3.) Rugged Rough and worn out
4.) Indented deep Thrust deep in the trunk
5.) Scars Wound like cuts in the body
6.) Bound Encircled
7.) Gallantly With Honour, like a brave knight
8.) Cluster Bunch, Group
9.) Darkling When it grows dark
10.) Repose Rest
11.) Casement Window
12.) Crest Peak, Highest summit of branches
13.) Babboon Short tailed monkey
14.) Puny Tiny
15.) Off springs - Young ones
16.) Hail - Greet by singing
17.) Wend Make their way
18.) Hoar Old and Gray
19.) Enmassed White lily flowers look like hidden snow
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20.) Companion Friend
21.) Intense Deep, passionate
22,) Blent Blended, Mingled
23.) Dirge-like Like a funeral song
24.) Murmur Whisper
25.) Shingles Pebbles
26.) Lament Song mourning or regretting something
27.) haply Possibly
28.) Wail Cry aloud in despair
29.) slumber sleep
30.) Water-wraith Water God
31.) Trance Hypnotic State, State of Magical Spell
32.) Swoon Faint
33.) Sublime Uplifting, peaceful
34.) Clime Land, country
35.) Fain Gladly, happily, joyfully
36.) Consecrate a lay Compose a poem or song
37.) For aye For Ever, Eternally
38.) Borrowdale A valley south of England
39.) Lingered Lived for along time
40.) Pale Dull, in a ghostly manner
41.) Rehearse To narrate, practise again and again
42.) Oblivion To fade out, Forgetfulness

1.) Give a brief summary of the poem?
Ans The poetess finds some weavers weaving a garment at day break. He asks
them why they are weaving such a beautiful garment. Its is blue and looks
like the wings of the wild halcyon bird. The weavers reply that they are
weaving the garments of a new born baby.Then, late in the evening the
poetess sees the weavers weaving a beautiful garment with purple and
green colours. She asks them why they are weaving such a nice
garment.The weavers tell her that they are weaving the marriage veils of a
queen.Finally in the cold moonlit night the poetess sees the weavers
weaving a white garment. They look serious and the garment looks like a
white feather, and a cloud. The weavers inform the poetess that they are
weaving a shroud to wrap a dead body.

2.) WEAVERS, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
The poetess observes some weavers weaving a cloth early in the morning.
She wonders why they are weaving such a beautiful piece of cloth. She
describes it a being blue like the wings of the halcyon bird (a type of
kingfisher). She asks them about it, and they inform her that they are
weaving the dress of a new born baby.

3.) Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
The poetess observes some weavers weaving a bright colored cloth during
late evening hours, and wonders why they are doing this. She describes
the cloth being purple and green colored, and it instantly reminds her of a
dancing peacocks feathers. She asks the weavers about it and they inform
her they are weaving the wedding dress for a queen.

4.) Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.
The poetess observes some weavers weaving a simple, white cloth
during the late hours of a cold, moon-lit night. She describes the cloth as
being light as a feather and white as a cloud. Whesn she asks them about
it, they inform her that they are weaving the cloth to be used to cover a
dead body.

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5.) What is the central idea/theme of the poem Indian Weavers?
Ans In this poem, the poetess has talked about 3 important stages in a human's
life-birth, marriage n death. She has related them with different times in a
day-morning, evening n night. She has highlighted the importance of the
weavers, and seen them as the human form of God, who weaves our
destinies, and governs our life and death.

6.) Indian Weavers is a philosophical poem about the different stages of
human life. Explain in brief?
Ans In this poem, the poetess has talked about 3 important stages in a human's
life-birth, marriage n death. She has related them with different times in a
day-morning, evening n night. She has highlighted the importance of the
weavers, and seen them as the human form of God, who weaves our
destinies, and governs our life and death.


7.) What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
The rhyme scheme of the poem is a,a,b,b.

8.) What are the poetic devices used in the poem Indian Weavers?
Some of the poetic devices are:
1.) Similie Blue as the wings of Halcyon (Line 3); White as a
Feather(Line 10); White as a Cloud (Line 10); Like the plumes of a peacock,
purple and green(Line 7)
2.) Consonance We weave (Lines 4,8,12); Why..weave(Line 2, Line 6);
garments so gay (Line 2); wings wild (Line 3); Whatweave (Line 10);
peacock, purple(Line 7)
3.) Repitition Weavers, weaving (Line 1,5,9)
4.) Colour Imagery- Blue(Line 3); Purple, Green (Line 7); White (Line
5.) Diacope (Repeating same word in sentence) - White as a feather
and white as a cloud (Line 11);
6.) Alliteration (Repeating of same initial sound) W sound in
Lines1&2; Lines 4,5&6; Lines 8-12

1.) Gay Cheerful, Beautiful.
2.) Halcyon A type of Kingfisher bird, Also represents period of
time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful
3.) Robes Long, loose outer garments. Here, loose cloth for
wrapping a new born baby in.
4.) Garment Clothes, Dress
5.) Plumes Feathers
6.) Veil Thin cloth of chiffon /georgette/cotton used to cover head
or face for partial visibility.
7.) Solemn Serious, Formal, Dignified
8.) Funeral - The ceremonies honoring a dead person, typically
involving burial or cremation
9.) Shroud Cloth used to cover a dead body on his last journey
towards the burial or cremation ground.

1.) What is the summary of the poem Song of Radha, The Milkmaid?
Ans Sarojini Naidu in this poem tells us about the milkmaid, Radha's love for
Lord Krishna. Radha, the milkmaid carried curd to sell at the Mathura
fair. She describes how softly the calfs were lowing. The third line gives
the reader a feel that nobody is buying her curd. Sarojini Naidu
beautifully compares the whiteness of curd to that of the clouds in the sky.
Radha seems to be least bothered that her curd is not being sold. She
seems to be lost in the world of her beloved Lord Krishna. She was so
immersed in the worship of her Lord that she cries 'govinda' several times.
The river Yamuna flows on softly as if appreciating her chant.The poet
describes the boatmen to be in a very happy and joyous mood and call out
to their companions to come and join them in their celebration by singing
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and dancing along with them. The boatmen are in a joyous mood as they
celebrate the advent of spring. The people welcome the spring by wearing
saffron clothes and pluck the newly formed buds. The people celebrate the
advent of spring as it is associated with rebirth and life. Even during this
time Radha seems to be thinking only about her Lord and again cries out
'Govinda'. The people around her mocked and jeered at her for her love
for her Lord. The river Yamuna flows on joyfully regardless.
Instead of selling her curd, she carries it to the Mathura shrine and
offers them as gifts to her Lord. She describes how brightly the shrine was
lit up by the torches. She folds her hands to pray to the deity, encircled by
snakes, and prays for protection while the conch shells are blown. Her
heart is lost to the vision of her Beloved Lord and she calls out the name
involuntarily. Others become angry. But the river Yamuna flows on while
her water dazzles in the light of the torches.

2.) What is the theme of the poem, Song of Radha, The Milkmaid?
Ans The theme of the peom is undying devotion and unconditional love for
Lord Krishna. Song of Radha, the Milkmaid, charts a journey from the
material to the mystic, the physical to the spiritual. In her all consuming
love for Govinda, the Divine Beloved, Radha becomes oblivious of her
surroundings-she is so 'full' of the 'beauty', the 'music' and the 'worship' of
her Beloved that she even forgets to pray at the altar of her God-she has
surrendered all worldly cares, lost all consciousness of societal sanctions,
all knowledge of humdrum life; in the sense of surpassing ecstasy and
complete abandon that she experiences in her sublimation to her beloved,
Radha obliterates all memories of her own mundane self, trapped within
the confines of society and customs and gains mystic consciousness - the
pure Light of Divinity itself. Her gradual emancipation is powerfully
brought out in the cadences of the changing refrain: 'How softly the river
was flowing!How gaily the river was flowing!How brightly the river
was flowing!' The intensity of her ecstatic fervour matches the rising
crescendo of the conch shell, It is only by identifying herself completely
with her divine love that Radha attains a transcendental experience in
which desires for divine and human love are fused.

3.) Critically examine the poem Song of Radha, The Milkmaid
Ans The title of the poem transports us to another world, to an environment of
fertility and abundance. Mother Nature abounds the earth with the flow
of her liquid. This white liquid symbolizes affection and nurturing of life.
Radha, the daughter of Mother Nature carries the liquid of life and
growth to all living beings. Mathura is her destination where Krishna, the
Divine Musicianholds everybody mesmerized with his mystic presence.
The heifers herald her arrival to Mathura where she will pour into the
pots the liquid which she has brought- energy and power from the mother
Earth. It is worth noticing that Sita, the other daughter of mother Earth
also represents all that stand for productivity.
Mathura, here is considered the center of life and abundance. While the
cow is the species, that represents the flow of life and abundance. Radha
feeds and nurtures life. Even the clouds in the sky, white and creamy, are
part of the resources of life. The clouds and breeze together produce rain
to awash the earth with the energy and moisture that coaxes the dormant
vitality into life energy. The time of the year should also be noted. It is the
time of incessant rain, the month of Shrawan (August- September), when
the life- giving moisture bursts forth.

Radhas heart wavers from her task in hand. She yearns for her union
with the Divine Musician, a presence that encompasses every soul of
Mathura. She is absorbed, heart and mind, in his mystic presence and the
trade cry she is supposed give out does not come to her lips- only the
name of Govinda, the Omnipresent, the Omniscient and the Omnipotent,
coming spontaneously from her heart, reverberates. Radha is presented in
the poem in the first person. In the first stanza she refers to the commodity
she is carrying. Her mind is somewhat attached to the earthly duties and
nature of her work. Even in her surroundings she hears the cry of the
heifers, an animal she connects with her trade. In the second stanza, her
mind is drawn towards the joy and gaiety of nature. She feels the
abundance in her heart that life is flowing everywhere.

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4.) I carried my curds to the Mathura fair
How softly the heifers were lowing
I wanted to cry, Who will buy
The curds that is white as the clouds in the sky
When the breezes of Shravan are blowing?
Ans Radha the Milkmaid describes her daily chores. She carried curd in an
earthen pot to Mathura to sell it. She describes the season as being Spring
time, and in the background one can hear cows mooing.

5.) But my heart was so full of your beauty, Beloved,
They laughed as I cried without knowing:
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!
How softly the river was flowing!
Ans Radha says that as river Yamuna softly flowed all she could do was think
of Lord Krishna, and instead of shouting out her wares for sale, all she did
was repeat Lord Krishnas name again and again. This made people laugh
at her. But she was so deeply absorbed in her devotion to Lord Krishna
that she did not mind it. She calls God Beloved and treats him more like
her lover.

6.) I carried the pots to the Mathura tide
How gaily the rowers were rowing!
My comrades called, Ho! Let us dance, let us sing
And wear saffron garments to welcome the spring.
And pluck the new buds that are blowing.
Ans Radha describes the scene at Mathur. She says that while she carried her
pots to Mathura, she saw boat men rowing gently on River Yamuna and
her friends also invited her to join them in their revelry and dancing, to
welcome Spring season, and pluck fresh flowers.

7.) But my heart was so full of your music, Beloved,
They mocked when I cried without knowing:
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!
How gaily the river was flowing!
But, Radha exclaims, her heart was already dancing to the tunes of her
beloved Krishna, and all she did was utter his name. This made her a butt
of ridicule in the eyes of her friends, but she did not mind it. All what
impressed her was how river Yamunas flow matched her own inner

8.) I carried my gifts to the Mathura shrine
How brightly the torches were glowing!
I folded my hands at the altars to pray
O shining ones guard us by night and by day-
And loudly the conch shells were blowing.
Ans And then Radha, along with her pots of curd, visited the Mathura temple.
She was enthralled by the brightly glowing lamps at the temple. She
folded her hands and bowed before Lord Krishna, asking her to be his
eternal protector and care taker. And as she did so, she could hear loud
conch shells in the background, both signifying the Aarti being
performed the temple, as well as representing Lord Kirshnas own Conch
Shell blowing.

9.) But my heart was so lost in your worship, Beloved,
They were wroth when I cried without knowing:
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!
How bright the river was flowing!
Finally Radha says that while people around her performed the rituals
duly assigned for worshipping God, all she could do was utter his name
again and again as she was totally lost in his thoughts. And all she noticed
was how River Yamuna reflected her emotions once more, by flowing
with full vigour.

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10.) What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans The rhyme scheme of this poem is abccb.

11.) What are the poetic devices used in the poem, Song of Radha, the
Ans Some of the poetic devices used in this poem are:
1.) Similie White as the clouds in the sky (Line 4)
2.) Consonance - carried my curds (Line 1); But beauty, Beloved
(Line 6);rowers were rowing (Line 17)
3.) Anaphora Repetition of And in Lines 14, 15; Repetition of word
Govinda in Lines 8&9, 18&19, 28&29.
4.) Symbolism river (symbol of life, and human mind); they as
symbol of world


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1.) When was Shakespeare born and when did he die?
Ans Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, at Stratford on-Avon. He died in
1616, at the age of 52.

2.) To which age does Shakespeare belong?
Ans Shakespeare belongs to the Elizabethan Age. The Queen Elizabeth
patronized him by allowing him to stage his plays in her court.

3.) What did Shakespeare write?
Ans Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, 2 long poems, and 37
comedy/tragedy/historical plays.

4.) What type of play is Merchant of Venice?
Ans The Merchant of Venice is typically classified as a Comedy play. A
comedy is usually a play about two young lovers, who meet a lot of
adventurous situations, and finally marry each other in the end, to live
happily ever after.

5.) Why is the opening of the play The Merchant of Venice important?
Ans The play opens with the introduction of Antonio, one of the key characters
of the play, in a sad and melancholic mood. This scene strikes the key-note
by not only introducing us to Antonio and his friends, but also sets a
general tone as being reflective of the problems that Antonio will have to
face in the near future.

6.) Give a brief character sketch of Gratiano and Nerissa?
Ans Gratiano is a friend of Bassanios who accompanies him to Belmont. A
rough and talkative young man, Gratiano is Shylocks most vocal and
insulting critic during the trial. While Bassanio courts Portia, Gratiano
falls in love with and eventually weds Nerissa.

Nerissa is Portias lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano
and escorts Portia on Portias trip to Venice by disguising herself as her
law clerk. She is also party to the Ring prank planned by Portia, and
played out on Bassanio and Gratiano by their respective wives in disguise.

1.) How many plots/sub-plots does the play Merchant of Venice have?
Ans The Merchant of Venice consists of four plots- two major and two minor,
so intricately interwoven to form one whole integrated story. The two
main plots comprise The Bond Story and The Lottery of Caskets. These
two plots are closely interlinked.

The main plot of this play pertains to Antonio and the Jew and money-
lender, and of the bond that Antonio sighs and subsequently forfeits. The
other major story pertains to the will left by Portias father, laying down
the condition which a suitor of Portia must fulfil before he can claim
Portias hand in marriage. This is known as The Casket Story. Bassanio,
asks therefore for a loan of three thousand ducats from Antonio in order
to be able to go to Belmont to try to win Portia as his wife. Antonio, who
has no cash in hand, hence asks Bassanio to borrow money in his name as
the guarantor from some money-lender or merchant. Both the stories
hence have been set afoot at the same time and the stories have closely
interwoven also. Without the one, the other has no obvious significance of
its own.

The two sub-plots in the play are- The Jessica-Lorenzo love story and The
Ring Episode. The former story includes Jessica, Shylocks daughter, falls
in love with Lorenzo, a friend of Antonio and Bassanio. Both the lovers go
to Belmont, where Portia entrusts them with the responsibility of looking
after her household, till she remains in Venice for the trial of Antonio.

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The next episode constitutes one of the important stories in the play. It is
only after Bassanio wins the lottery of caskets, that Portia marries him and
gives him a ring as a token of their love. She takes a promise from
Bassanio that he will never part with the ring. At the same time, Nerissa
married Gratiano and gives him a ring, with the promise from him that he
will not part with it at any cost. The rings represent wealth as well as
emotional value. This is known as The Ring Episode, acts as an offshoot
of the Casket story. Then it is connected with the Bond Story in the Trial
scene, as Bassanio and Gratiano give their rings to Portia and Nerissa
respectively as a token of gratitude for saving Antonio.

Thus the plot of the play, determines the general framework but into it are
fitted the other elements which enrich and diversify their sense of

Q.2 List all the characters in the play Merchant of Venice?
The various characters in the play Merchant of Venice are:
a. Shylock - A Jewish moneylender in Venice.
b. Portia - A wealthy heiress from Belmont.
c. Antonio - The merchant whose love for his friend Bassanio
prompts him to sign Shylocks contract.
d. Bassanio - A gentleman of Venice, and a kinsman and dear friend
to Antonio.
e. Gratiano - A friend of Bassanios who accompanies him to
f. Jessica - Shylocks daughter who elopes with the young Christian
gentleman, Lorenzo.
g. Lorenzo - A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, who is in love with
Shylocks daughter, Jessica.
h. Nerissa - Portias lady-in-waiting and confidante.
i. Launcelot Gobbo - Bassanios servant.
j. The Prince of Morocco - A Moorish prince who seeks Portias
hand in marriage.
k. The Prince of Arragon - An arrogant Spanish nobleman who
attempts to win Portias hand.
l. Salarino - A Venetian gentleman, and friend to Antonio, Bassanio,
and Lorenzo.
m. The Duke of Venice - The ruler of Venice, who presides over
Antonios trial.
n. Old Gobbo - Launcelots father
o. Tubal - A Jew in Venice, and one of Shylocks friends.
p. Doctor Bellario - A wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portias cousin.
q. Balthasar - Portias servant

2.) In the end, how comic is The Merchant of Venice? Does the final act
succeed in restoring comedy to the play?
Ans The Merchant of Venice contains all of the elements required of a
Shakespearean comedy, but is often so overshadowed by the character of
Shylock and his quest for a pound of flesh that it is hard not to find in the
play a generous share of the tragic as well. Lovers pine and are reunited, a
foolish servant makes endless series of puns, and genteel women
masquerade as menall of which are defining marks of Shakespearean
comedy. In sharp contrast to these elements, however, Shakespeare also
presents Shylock, a degraded old man who has lost his daughter and is
consumed with a bloody greed. The light language of the plays comedic
moments disappears for whole scenes at a time, and Antonios fate is
more suspenseful than funny. The final act redeems the plays claims to be
a comedy, piling on the necessary humor and serendipity, but the rest of
the play is overcast by the fact that Antonio may soon pay Bassanios debt
with his life.

3.) Discuss the relationship between Jessica and Shylock. Are we meant to
sympathize with the moneylenders daughter? Does Shakespeare seem
ambivalent in his portrayal of Jessica?
Ans In looking at the relationship between Jessica and Shylock, we are again
forced to walk a fine line between sympathizing with and despising
Shylock. For all intents and purposes, the play should label Shylocks
mistreatment by his own daughter as richly deserved. After all, he is
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spiteful, petty, and mean, and in his more cartoonish or evil moments, it is
hard to imagine why Jessica should stay. At other times, however,
Jessicas escape seems like another cruel circumstance inflicted on
Shylock, and her behavior offstage borders on heartless. Shylock is never
more sympathetic than when he bemoans the fact that Jessica has taken a
ring given to him in his bachelor days by his wife and has traded it for a
monkey, the most banal of objects. Nor is Jessica ever able to produce
satisfactory evidence that life in her fathers house is miserable. Her
seeming indifference to Antonios fateshe and Lorenzo are more
interested in the price of baconmakes us wonder whether Jessica is
actually more selfish and self-absorbed than the father she condemns.
While Shylock is no saint, his resolve to collect his debt only seems to
strengthen beyond reason after he discovers that Jessica has fled.

4.) Write a character sketch of Shylock?
Ans Shylock is a Jewish money lender in Venice. He is the most vivid and
memorable character in The Merchant of Venice, and he is one of
Shakespeare's greatest dramatic creations.
Angered by his mistreatment at the hands of Venices Christians,
particularly Antonio, Shylock schemes to eke out his revenge by ruthlessly
demanding as payment a pound of Antonios flesh. Shylock is seen by the
rest of the plays characters as an inhuman monster.

Although critics tend to agree that Shylock is The Merchant of Venices most
noteworthy figure, no consensus has been reached on whether to read him
as a bloodthirsty bogeyman, a clownish Jewish stereotype, or a tragic
figure whose sense of decency has disappeared because he had faced
harassment himself. Certainly, Shylock is the plays antagonist, but one
realizes that Shylock is , a creation of circumstance; even in his single-
minded pursuit of a pound of flesh, his frequent mentions of the cruelty
he has endured at Christian hands make it hard for us to label him a
natural born monster. In one of Shakespeares most famous monologues,
for example, Shylock argues that Jews are humans and calls his quest for
vengeance the product of lessons taught to him by the cruelty of Venetian

Shylock's function in this play is to be the obstacle, the man who stands in
the way of the love stories; such a man is a traditional figure in romantic
comedies. The fact that he is a Jew is, in a broad sense, accidental.
Shakespeare never seriously defined or condemned a group through the
presentation of an individual; he only did this for the purposes of comedy
by creating caricatures in miniature for our amusement. Shylock is drawn
in bold strokes; he is meant to be a "villain" in terms of the romantic
comedy, but because of the multi-dimensionality which Shakespeare gives
him, we are meant to sympathize with him at times, loathe him at others.

Shylock is powerfully drawn, perhaps too powerfully for this comedy, but
his superb dignity is admirable, despite the fact that we must finally
condemn him. Perhaps the poet W. H. Auden has given us our best clue
as to how we must deal with Shylock: "Those to whom evil is done," he
says, "do evil in return." This explains in a few words much of the
moneylender's complexity and our complex reactions toward him.

5.) Give a character sketch of Portia?
Ans Quick-witted, wealthy, and beautiful, Portia embodies the virtues that are
typical of Shakespeares heroinesit is no surprise that she emerges as
the antidote to Shylocks malice. At the beginning of the play, however,
we do not see Portias potential for initiative and resourcefulness, as she is
a near prisoner, feeling herself absolutely bound to follow her fathers
dying wishes. This opening appearance, however, proves to be a revealing
introduction to Portia, who emerges as that rarest of combinationsa free
spirit who abides rigidly by rules. Rather than ignoring the stipulations of
her fathers will, she watches a stream of suitors pass her by, happy to see
these particular suitors go, but sad that she has no choice in the matter.
But this seemingly sad scenario is not presented in a tragic style. What we
most remember about Portia, after the play is over, is her wit and her
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playfulness. Even when Portia is complaining to Nerissa about the terms
of her father's will, she does so wittily: "Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I
cannot choose one nor refuse none?" And then she ticks off, like a
computer, the eccentricities of the six suitors who have arrived at Belmont
to try for her hand. They are either childish, humorless, volatile, ignorant,
too fantastically dressed, weak, or have a drinking problem.
Portia is usually very self-controlled, but she reveals her anxiety
concerning Bassanio a little later when he has arrived at her mansion and
is about to choose one of the caskets. She has fallen in love with him, and
her anxiety and confusion undo her. "Pause a day or two," she begs, for "in
choosing wrong, / I lose your company." She thus makes sure that he
knows that it is not hate that she feels for him. Bassanio's correct choice of
the casket overwhelms Portia.
A practical, good natured and quick witted young woman, when faced
with Shylcok in the Courtroom, Portia (in disguise) speaks to him about
mercy, but this is not merely an attempt to stall; she truly means what she
says. It is an eloquent appeal she makes. Her request for mercy comes
from her habitual goodness. She hopes, of course, to soften his heart,
knowing the outcome if he refuses. But the words come from her heart,
honestly and openly and naturally.Portia rejects the stuffiness that rigid
adherence to the law might otherwise suggest. In her courtroom
appearance, she vigorously applies the law, but still flouts convention by
appearing disguised as a man. After depriving Bassanio of his ring, she
stops the prank before it goes to far, but still takes it far enough to berate
Bassanio and Gratiano for their callousness, and she even insinuates that
she has been unfaithful.
The entire ring plot, handled in a light vein go to prove that Portia is a
delightful creature, one of Shakespeare's most intelligent and captivating

6.) Give a Character Sketch of Antonio?
Ans Antonio is a rich man, and a comfortable man, and a popular man, but
still he suffers from an inner sadness. One obvious, dramatic reason for
Antonio's quiet melancholy is simply that Shakespeare cannot give
Antonio too much to do or say without taking away valuable dialogue
time from his major characters. Therefore, Shakespeare makes Antonio a
quiet, dignified figure.
One of Antonio's most distinguishing characteristics is his generosity. He
is more than happy to offer his good credit standing so that Bassanio can
go to Belmont in the latest fashions in order to court Portia. And one of the
reasons why Shylock hates Antonio so intensely is that Antonio has
received Shylock's borrowers by lending them money at the last minute to
pay off Shylock; and Antonio never charges interest. He is only too happy
to help his friends, but he would never stoop to accepting more than the
original amount in return. Antonio's generosity is boundless, and for
Bassanio, he is willing to go to the full length of friendship, even if it
means that he himself may suffer for it.
Antonio is an honorable man. When he realizes that Shylock is within his
lawful rights, Antonio is ready to fulfill the bargain he entered into to help
Bassanio. "The Duke cannot deny the course of the law," he says. And
later, he adds that he is "arm'd / To suffer, with a quietness of spirit . . .
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough, / I'll pay it presently with all my
Antonio's courage and goodness are finally rewarded; at the end of the
play, when the three pairs of lovers are reunited and happiness abounds
at Belmont, Portia delivers a letter to Antonio in which he learns that the
remainder of his ships has returned home safely to port.
7.) Give a Character sketch of Bassanio?
Ans Bassanio's character is more fully drawn than Antonio's, but it does not
possess the powerful individuality that Shakespeare gives to his portraits
of Portia and Shylock. First off, when one begins considering Bassanio,
one should dismiss all the critics who condemn him for his financial
habits. Bassanio's request to Antonio for more money is perfectly natural
for him. He is young; he is in love; and he is, by nature, impulsive and
romantic. Young men in love have often gone into debt; thus Bassanio has
always borrowed money and, furthermore, no moral stigma should be
involved. Shakespeare needs just such a character in this play for his plot.
If Bassanio is not a powerful hero, he is certainly a sympathetic one. First,
he has some of the most memorable verse in the play language which
has music, richness, and dignity. Second, he shows us his immediate,
uncalculated generosity and love; this is especially obvious when
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Bassanio, who has just won Portia, receives the letter telling him of
Antonio's danger. Bassanio is immediately and extremely concerned over
the fate of Antonio and is anxious to do whatever is possible for his friend.
Here, the situation is melodramatic and calls for a romantic, seemingly
impossible, rescue mission.

When at last Bassanio and Portia are reunited, he speaks forthrightly and
truthfully to her. He refuses to implicate Antonio, even though it was at
Antonio's urging that he gave away his wedding ring to the judge who
cleverly saved Antonio's life: "If you did know," he tells Portia, "for what I
gave the ring / And how unwillingly I left the ring . . . You would abate
the strength of your displeasure." No matter how powerful the
circumstances, he admits that he was wrong to part with the ring because
he had given his oath to Portia to keep it. As the play ends, Bassanio's
impetuous nature is once more stage-center. Speaking to his wife, he
vows: "Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; . . . and by my soul I swear
/ I never more will break an oath with thee." Of course, he will; this,
however, is part of Bassanio's charm. He means it with all his heart when
he swears to Portia, but when the next opportunity arises and he is called
on to rashly undertake some adventure full of dash and daring, he'll be
off. Portia knows this also and loves him deeply, despite this minor flaw.

8.) Give a brief character sketch of Jessica and Lorenzo?
Although she is Shylocks daughter, Jessica hates life in her fathers house,
and elopes with the young Christian gentleman, Lorenzo. The fate of her
soul is often in doubt: the plays characters wonder if her marriage can
overcome the fact that she was born a Jew, and we wonder if her sale of a
ring given to her father by her mother is excessively callous.
A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, Lorenzo is in love with Shylocks
daughter, Jessica. He schemes to help Jessica escape from her fathers
house, and he eventually elopes with her to Belmont. His character is
given stage presence only in Act V, Scene I, where Jessica and Lorenzo
compare themselves, in moonlit Belmont, to famous lovers from classical
literature, like Troilus and Cressida, Pyramus and Thisbe, and Dido and
Aeneas. The couple goes back and forth with endless declarations of love,
when a messenger suddenly interrupts them. The messenger informs
them that Portia will soon return from the monastery, and Lorenzo and
Jessica prepare to greet the mistress of the house. Launcelot enters and
announces that Bassanio will return to Belmont the next day. Lorenzo calls
for music, and he and Jessica sit on a grassy bank beneath the stars.
Lorenzo contemplates the music made by the movement of heavenly orbs,
which mortal humans cannot hear while alive. The musicians arrive and
begin to play, and Lorenzo decides that anyone who is not moved by
music deserves the worst cruelties and betrayals. This scene is used to
establish harmony and reintroduce the theme of love in the play as it
draws towards an amicable end.
10.) Comment on the role of the jester Launcelot Gobbo in the play?
Ans The existence of the jester or clown Launcelot Gobbo in the play is
significant primarily from point of view of the Eliabethan Stage. These
jesters or clowns were great favorites with the Elizabethan audiences.
Their parts involved a great deal of comic stage business improvised
actions, gestures, and expressions and they had their own special
routines. Launcelot, for example, would be given a great deal of leeway in
using his own special comic devices.

The dialogue itself is not particularly witty because the comedy was
meant to be mostly physical. Launcelot's opening speech takes the form of
a debate between "the fiend" and his own "conscience." The comedy here
lies in the fact that the jester-clown Launcelot should regard himself as the
hero of a religious drama, but this gives him the opportunity to mimic two
separate parts, jumping back and forth on the stage and addressing
himself: "Well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says
the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience". Visually, this makes for good

There is more visual comedy when the two Gobbos confront Bassanio.
Here, it is suggested by the lines that Launcelot bends down behind his
father, popping up to interrupt him at every other line and finishing his
sentences for him. This kind of comedy depends on visual and verbal
confusion, especially mistaking obvious words and phrases. Particularly
characteristic of this clowning is the confusion of word meanings. Here,
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Launcelot speaks of his "true-begotten father," and he uses "infection" for
affection, "frutify" for certify, "defect" for effect, and so on.
Toward the close of the scene, two more details of the central plot are
developed. First, Launcelot leaves Shylock's household for that of
Bassanio; this prepares us for a similar, if a much greater defection from
Shylock by his daughter, Jessica, in the following scene. It also makes it
possible for Launcelot to appear at Belmont in the final act, where a little
of his clowning adds to the general good humor. Second, Gratiano
announces his intention of going to Belmont with Bassanio; he must be
there to marry Nerissa and take part in the comedy of the "ring story,"
which ends the play with lighthearted teasing wit.

The function of a clown is to misunderstand people and undermine their
assumptions by asking simple, obvious questions. By highlighting the
confusion of biblical texts, and raising pragmatic questions about the
conversion of Jews, Launcelot, in his clownish ways, demonstrates the
absurdities and complications that arise from the automatic damnation of
a religious faith.

11.) What is the significance of the title The Merchant of Venice?
Ans The Merchant of Venice is an apt title for the play where, the Merchant,
Antonio is not the lead character around whose trials the story revolves.
The story has more to do with love story of his best friend Bassanio and
the rich and beautiful heiress Portia. Like all love stories, we do have a
villain here in the form of the Jewish money lender Shylock, who claims
that he has become hard hearted and vengeful only because of the ill
treatment of Antonio and other Venetians who dislike the Jew. Whereas
the play is a critique on how a person who is tormented by society can
also turn into a tormentor, Shakespeare sets to show that it is not one or
two people who spoil the image of a whole society. Antonio, is a
tormentor, Antonio is a Venetian. But he is also a very generous human
being, and has a Christian Soul. He is ready to barter a pound of his flesh
in return for money to help his friend unite with his lover. In that sense it
is a play on Christian charity and generosity, as represented by Antonio,
whose personality is rounded by giving him a nasty edge in his behavior
towards the Jew Shylock. It is also a play about Christian gratitude as
displayed by Portia, who seeks to save her husbands best friend from a
raw deal. That is why it is apt that the play be dedicated more to Antonio
The Merchant from Venice- than to his friend Bassanio, or the witty and
beautiful Portia, or the mean Shylock.

12.) Discuss the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. What does
their friendship reveal about their characters?
Ans The relationship that is probably the most important is that between
Antonio the merchant of the title and his dearest friend, Bassanio. This
relationship is characterised by selflessness and love on the part of
Antonio, and an initial carelessness and thoughtlessness on the part of
Bassanio, although he does come to realise what he has done to his friend
and tries his best to make amends.
Antonio appears to be a lonely man who has nobody close to him but
Bassanio. When we
first meet Antonio, he seems world-weary: In sooth, I know not why I am
so sad; and it seems that the only thing he lives for is his friendship with
Bassanio. Salanio recognises this when he says of AntonioI think he only
loves the world for [Bassanio].The love Antonio has for Bassanio means
that he is willing to do anything his friend asks. We know that he has
already lent money to Bassanio, but even though Bassanio has not repaid
that money,Antonio is willing to lend him more. He assures Bassanio that
My purse, my person, my extremest means / Lie all unlocked to your

Antonios ships are still at sea, so he has not yet the money to lend to
Bassanio, but his love for his friend is so great that he is willing to borrow
money from Shylock, a Jewish Money lender. This is not something he
would normally do, but he says that to supply the ripe wants of my
friend / Ill break a custom. Shylock makes what seems to be a ridiculous
demand. If Antonios ships do not come in and bring the money he owes
Shylock, then Shylock can take a pound of Antonios flesh. The way in
which Antonio & Bassanio respond to this shows us something very
important about their relationship. Antonio is willing to agree to the bond
because he loves Bassanio so much, and Bassanio despite some token
resistance agrees to it. This shows Antonios incredible selflessness.
When Shylock demands payment of the bond, Bassanio at last shows that
he is a worthy friend for Antonio. He volunteers to take Antonios place
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and to die in his stead: The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all
/ Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood. He even offers to sacrifice
his wife, not knowing that she is in the court and listening to all of this!
The bond between the two men is shown clearly when Bassanio brings
Antonio with him to his new home with Portia.This seems only fitting, as
the marriage would not have taken place without Antonios incredibly
selfless sponsorship of Bassanios courtship.

13.) Compare and contrast Venice and Belmont. What is the significance of
these distinct settings in the play?
Ans In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare shows the contrast of the two
worlds, Belmont and Venice, by representing Venice as a masculine world
of commerce and competition, which is dominated by the language of
money, and representing Belmont by a feminine world of marriage and
love, and also by Portia.

An obvious way in which the two cities contrast is in their reality.
Venice is a very realistic place. The people living and working in the town
have real problems, such as debt and hostility from others. Belmont is a
city that one would see in a fairytale. Everything is happy and nobody has
any real problems. The most upsetting occurrence in Belmont was that
Portia did not like the method in which her husband was going to be

Another manner in which the two cities are contrasted has to do with
money. In Venice money is continually the topic of conversation. They are
always worried about it, borrowing it, lending it, or touching it. Shylock is
a character in Venice that deals directly with money. While Venice is full
of business matters, Belmont is full of music. The tone of the house is
much lighter than that of Venice. The novel's happy conclusion is fittingly
played out at Belmont away from the harsher atmosphere in Venice.

14. Many critics think that The Merchant of Venice is more tragic than
comic. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Ans The works of William Shakespeare are regarded the world over for their
unique insight into the human condition. Although on the surface,
Shakespeares writings frequently appear to uphold the Elizabethan status
quo, there are usually underlying messages to be found that an
Elizabethan audience would have considered offensive. Because of the
time in which he wrote, Shakespeare had to be subtle in his expression of
radical ideas, leaving them open to many different interpretations and
allowing audiences to come to their own conclusions.

This is especially evident in The Merchant of Venice. Written around 1596 or
1597, The Merchant of Venice heavily reflects the anti-Semitism of its time.
Throughout the Renaissance, Jews were hated in Christian Europe, largely
for their biblical connection with the crucifixion of Christ and for their
status as usurers, one of the few professions allowed to them in a largely
Christian society. Exacerbating the problem were laws which kept Jews
segregated in ghettos and religious concerns of Orthodox Judaism which
prevented Jews from associating too closely with Christians.

To an Elizabethan audience, The Merchant of Venice was a comedy in
which the virtues of Christian New Testament mercy triumphed over the
harshness of Jewish Old Testament justice. On the surface, the play
conforms exactly to the anti-Semitic standards of its time. Shylock holds
the stereotypical Jewish occupation of moneylender and is portrayed as
cruel, bloodthirsty, and materialistic. He hates Christians and values
money above all else, including his own family. When his daughter Jessica
elopes with a Christian, taking with her money and jewels, it is his
material possessions that he mourns.

Thirsting for Christian blood, Shylock tries to kill the goodly Christian
merchant, Antonio, who in a display of Christlike self-sacrifice, is willing
to give his life to help his friend, Bassanio. In the end, Shylock is thwarted
by strict adherence to the same law he tried to manipulate to his
advantage. He is only spared his life, which the same justice he
demanded would have forfeit, by the power of Christian mercy, which
also spares his soul by forcing his conversion to Christianity. With the
Jewish menace eliminated, the fifth act sees three good Christian couples
married in a typical comedic happy ending.

The time in which Shakespeare wrote was extremely hostile to Jewry, and
thus the performance of an openly pro-Jewish play in England would not
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have been possible. However, The Merchant of Venice may easily be
interpreted by modern or simply more sympathetic audiences, as Heine
suggests, as the tragedy of Shylock, rather than the comedy of Antonio.
Assuming that Shakespeare, with his legendary insight into the human
condition, had intended to defend rather than refute the humanity of
Jews, framing a pro-Jewish tragedy within a pro-Christian comedy would
have been an ingenious method of doing so.

Although early interpretations of Shylock portray him as an evil Jewish
caricature dressed in the kind of red wig worn by Judas in the medieval
miracle plays, Shakespeares text defines him as a complex and
occasionally sympathetic character, even if he is interpreted as a villain
(Smith). Twisted by Christian cruelty, Shylock is a product of his
environment, and might have been a better man, had society allowed him
to be. Shylock mentions more than once that Antonio and the other
Christians have spat upon him repeatedly in public and berated him, for
no other reason beyond his religion and profession.

In Shylock, Shakespeare created a character both twisted with malice and
downtrodden with prejudice. Whether that results in a tragedy of injustice
or a comedy of justice is, as it should be, a decision left to the
interpretation of the audience, as Shakespeare himself wished.

15.) What are the various themes discussed in the play Merchant of Venice?
The following Themes have been explored by Shakespeare in the play
Merchant of Venice, making it a social and political commentary:
a. Reality and Idealism - The Merchant of Venice is structured partly on
the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and
relationships. On the one hand, the play tells us that love is more
important than money, mercy is preferable to revenge, and love lasts
forever. On the other hand, more cynical voices tell us that money
rules the world, mercy alone cannot govern our lives, and love can
evaporate after marriage.
b. Mercy - The Merchant of Venice begs the question, does mercy exist in
the world? Between religious intolerance and personal revenge, the
play seems devoid of a merciful being. However, against all the odds,
Portia does manage to bring about some mercy in Venice. When
Shylock faces execution for his crimes, Portia persuades the Duke to
pardon him. She then persuades Antonio to exercise mercy by not
taking all of Shylock's money from him.
c. Prejudice - Throughout the play, and as of Act 3, Scene 4, Launcelot
Gobbo is still trying to reconcile his affection for Jessica with his belief
that all Jews are devils. This theme continually recurs in the clown
scenes, and it seems as though Shakespeare is deliberately making fun
of the Christian's attitudes toward the Jews.
d. Self Interest vs. Love - On the surface, the main difference between
the Christian characters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian
characters value human relationships over business ones, whereas
Shylock is only interested in money. However, upon closer inspection,
this supposed difference between Christian and Jew breaks down.
When we see Shylock in Act III, scene i, he seems more hurt by the fact
that his daughter sold a ring that was given to him by his dead wife
before they were married than he is by the loss of the rings monetary
value. Some human relationships do indeed matter to Shylock more
than money. Moreover, his insistence that he have a pound of flesh
rather than any amount of money shows that his resentment is much
stronger than his greed. The Christian characters also present an
inconsistent picture. Though Portia and Bassanio come to love one
another, Bassanio seeks her hand in the first place because he is
monstrously in debt and needs her money. Bassanio even asks Antonio
to look at the money he lends Bassanio as an investment, though
Antonio insists that he lends him the money solely out of love. In other
words, Bassanio is anxious to view his relationship with Antonio as a
matter of business rather than of love. Finally, Shylock eloquently
argues that Jews are human beings just as Christians are, but
Christians such as Antonio hate Jews simply because they are Jews.
Thus, while the Christian characters may talk more about mercy, love,
and charity, they are not always consistent in how they display these
e. Hatred as a Cyclical Phenomenon - Throughout the play, Shylock
claims that he is simply applying the lessons taught to him by his
Christian neighbors; this claim becomes an integral part of both his
character and his argument in court. In Shylocks very first
appearance, as he conspires to harm Antonio, his entire plan seems to
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be born of the insults and injuries Antonio has inflicted upon him in
the past.
16.) What are the various symbols used in the play Merchant of Venice?
Ans The various symbols and motifs that present themselves in the play
Merchant of Venice are:
a. Portia - Portia is the only character whom it is difficult to criticize, and
Shakespeare appears to use her as a symbol of mercy and forgiveness.
Because Venice can be thought of as symbolizing the real world,
whereas Belmont is the world of idealism, when Portia travels to Venice,
she is a character from the fantasy world entering the real and practical
b. The Three Caskets - The contest for Portias hand, in which suitors from
various countries choose among a gold, a silver, and a lead casket,
resembles the cultural and legal system of Venice in some respects. Like
the Venice of the play, the casket contest presents the same opportunities
and the same rules to men of various nations, ethnicities, and religions.
Also like Venice, the hidden bias of the casket test is fundamentally
Christian. The contest combines a number of Christian teachings, such as
the idea that desire is an unreliable guide and should be resisted, and the
idea that human beings do not deserve Gods grace but receive it in spite
of themselves. Christianity teaches that appearances are often deceiving,
and that people should not trust the evidence provided by the senses
hence the humble appearance of the lead casket. Faith and charity are
the central values of Christianity, and these values are evoked by the
lead caskets injunction to give all and risk all, as one does in making a
leap of faith.
c. The Pound of Flesh - The pound of flesh that Shylock seeks lends itself to
multiple interpretations: it emerges most as a metaphor for two of the
plays closest relationships, but also calls attention to Shylocks inflexible
adherence to the law. The fact that Bassanios debt is to be paid with
Antonios flesh is significant, showing how their friendship is so binding
it has made them almost one. Shylocks determination is strengthened
by Jessicas departure, as if he were seeking recompense for the loss of
his own flesh and blood by collecting it from his enemy. Lastly, the
pound of flesh is a constant reminder of the rigidity of Shylocks world,
where numerical calculations are used to evaluate even the most serious
of situations.
d. Leahs Ring - The ring given to Shylock in his bachelor days by a woman
named Leah, who is most likely Shylocks wife and Jessicas mother, gets
only a brief mention in the play, but is still an object of great importance.
When told that Jessica has stolen it and traded it for a monkey, Shylock
very poignantly laments its loss. The lost ring allows us to see Shylock in
an uncharacteristically vulnerable position and to view him as a human
being capable of feeling something more than anger. Although Shylock
and Tubal discuss the ring for no more than five lines, the ring stands as
an important symbol of Shylocks humanity, his ability to love, and his
ability to grieve.

1. What reason does Antonio give for being sad in the opening scene of
the play?
(A) He stands to lose a fortune in his present business ventures.
(B) He owes a fantastic sum of money to Shylock.
(C) He gives no reason.
(D) The woman he loves does not return his feelings.

2. From what character flaw does Bassanio believe Gratiano suffers?
(B)A lack of depth

3. The caskets that Portias suitors must pick from are made of what
(A)Gold, silver, lead
(B)Teak, mahogany, pine
(C)Bone, porcelain, clay
(D)Marble, stone, brick

English literature 89
4. Which of the following is not a reason Shylock gives for hating
(A)Antonio is in love with Shylocks daughter, Jessica.
(B)Antonio has insulted Shylock in the past.
(C)Antonio lends money without interest, which damages Shylocks
(D)Antonio hates Jews.

5. How does Shylock initially describe his demand for a pound of flesh to
Bassanio and Antonio?
(A)As an opportunity for revenge
(B)As his way of being charitable
(C)As a harmless prank
(D)As a way of procuring food

6. Why does the prince of Morocco fear that Portia will dislike him?
(A)He is a braggart.
(B)He has a dark complexion.
(C)He recently proved a coward in battle.
(D) His clothes are flamboyant.

7. Whom does Bassanio agree to bring with him to Belmont?
(A)Old Gobbo

8. What act does Jessica believe will solve the misery of life with Shylock?
(A)Becoming a more devout Jew
(B) Ensuring that Shylock loses his bond to Antonio
(C) Locking herself in her room
(D) Marrying Lorenzo

9. According to Lorenzos plan, how will Jessica escape from her fathers
(A) She will disguise herself as Lorenzos torchbearer and slip out
(B) She will leave during the night, while Shylock is asleep.
(C) She will take her father to a large public auction and get lost in the
(D) She will fake her own death.

10. How does Shylock react to losing Launcelot as a servant?
(A) He weeps in private
(B) He tells Launcelot that Bassanio will be a harder master
(C) He beats Launcelot with a stick
(D) He refuses to pay Launcelot the wages he owes him

11. How does Portia react to the prince of Moroccos failure as a suitor?
(A) She prays that no one with such dark skin ever wins her hand.
(B ) She is relieved because the quick-tempered prince would not have
made a stable husband.
(C) She is sad to lose such a wealthy suitor.
(D) She laughs at his foolishness and sends him away.

12. Who loses the opportunity to marry Portia by choosing the silver
(A) The Jew of Malta
(B) The prince of Arragon
(C) The duke of Earl
(D) The viscount of Normandy

13. According to Tubals report, for what did Jessica trade Shylocks most
precious ring?
(A) A gondola
(B) A horse for Bassanio
(C) A christening gown for her first child
(D) A monkey

14. What course of action does Portia suggest when she learns that Shylock
wishes to collect his pound of flesh?
English literature 91
(A) That Bassanio and his men disguise themselves and usher Antonio
a safe distance away from Venice
(B) That the matter be dealt with in a court of law
(C) That Jessica plead with her father for mercy
(D) That the bond be paid many times over

15. Where does Portia instruct her servant Balthasar to hurry?
(A) To an apothecary
(B) To Padua to visit Doctor Bellario
(C) To Morocco
(D) To Shylocks house

16. What complaint does Launcelot make regarding the conversion of
the Jews?
(A) He says there would be no one left to loan money.
(B) He says the garment industry would suffer.
(C) He says that the price of bacon would soar.
(D) He says the Catholic Church would be unable to handle so many

17. In court, how does Antonio react to Shylocks insistence on
collecting his pound of flesh?
(A) He weeps openly.
(B) He vows that he will meet Shylocks hatred with patience.
(C) He curses Shylocks vengefulness.
(D) He makes an impassioned plea to the court to intervene on his

18. Who enters the court disguised as a young doctor of Law named
(A) Portia
(B) Nerissa
(C) Jessica
(D) Lorenzo

19. What loophole in Shylocks bond allows Portia to stop him from taking
a pound of Antonios flesh?
(A) Jewish law prohibits Shylock from practicing his trade on the
(B) Shylock is entitled only to flesh, but not blood.
(C) Shylock forgot to sign the bond.
(D) There is no hard evidence that Antonios ships have sunk, and that
he cannot pay the bond.

20. How is Shylock punished for seeking to take Antonios life?
(A) He is banished.
(B) He is ordered to surrender all his property to the Church of Rome.
(C) He must convert to Christianity and will his possessions to Jessica
and Lorenzo upon his death.
(D) He must work as Antonios servant for the remainder of his life.

21. What words does Shylock utter after accepting the courts sentence?
(A) A pox upon Venice
(B) These are most unlawful laws
(C) Forgive me my sins
(D) I am not well

22. What does Bassanio offer the young law clerk who saves Antonio?
(A) His gloves
(B) His wife
(C) The ring that Portia gave him
(D) The three thousand ducats originally due to Shylock

23. What does Lorenzo order when he learns that Portia is on her way
to Belmont?
(A) A banquet to welcome the lady of the house
(B) Music
(C) A ring to match the one she once gave to Bassanio
(D) Flowers

24. What does Portia vow to do when she learns that Bassanio no longer has
the ring she gave him?
(A) Never again speak to her husband
(B) Deny her husband children
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(C) Leave her husband
(D) Make her husband a cuckold

25. What news does Antonio receive at the plays end?
(A) Shylock has killed himself.
(B) Some of the ships he supposed were lost have arrived in port.
(C) The duke of Venice has changed his mind and finds Antonio guilty
of forfeiture of Shylocks bond.
(D) His long lost brother has been found.

1. C 2. B 3.A 4.A 5.C 6.B 7.B 8.D 9.A
10.B 11. A 12.B 13.D 14.D 15.B 16.C 17.B 18.A
19.B 20.C 21.D 22.D 23.B 24.D 25.B


1. I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt
with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the
same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a
Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not
laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we
not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?
Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go
hard but I will better the instruction. (III.i.4961)
Ans There are perhaps fewer disturbing lines in all of Shakespeare than
Shylocks promise to Solanio and Salarino in Act III, scene i, that he will
outdo the evil that has been done to him. Shylock begins by eloquently
reminding the Venetians that all people, even those who are not part of
the majority culture, are human. A Jew, he reasons, is equipped with the
same faculties as a Christian, and is therefore subject to feeling the same
pains and comforts and emotions. The speech, however, is not a
celebration of shared experience or even an invitation for the Venetians to
acknowledge their enemys humanity. Instead of using reason to elevate
himself above his Venetian tormenters, Shylock delivers a monologue that
allows him to sink to their level: he will, he vows, behave as villainously
as they have. The speech is remarkable in that it summons a range of
emotional responses to Shylock. At first, we doubtlessly sympathize with
the Jew, whose right to fair and decent treatment has been so neglected by
the Venetians that he must remind them that he has hands, organs,
dimensions, senses similar to theirs (III.i.50). But Shylocks pledge to
behave as badly as they, and, moreover, to better the instruction, casts
him in a less sympathetic light (III.i.61). While we understand his
motivation, we cannot excuse the endless perpetuation of such villainy.

2. What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answered yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig,
Some that are mad if they behold a cat,
And others when the bagpipe sings ith nose
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. . . .. . .
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
Ans When, in Act IV, scene i, Antonio and Shylock are summoned before the
court, the duke asks the Jew to show his adversary some mercy. Shylock
responds by reasoning that he has no reason. He blames his hatred of
Antonio on affection, / [that] Mistress of passion, who is known to
affect mens moods in ways they cannot explain (IV.i.4950). Just as
certain people do not know why they have an aversion to cats or certain
strains of music or eating meat, Shylock cannot logically explain his
dislike for Antonio. The whole of his response to the court boils down to
the terribly eloquent equivalent of the simple answer: just because. The
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speech merits consideration not only because it articulates a range of
emotions that often cannot be verbally expressed, but also because
Shylocks language patterns reinforce our impression of his character. The
use of repetition in the passage is frequent. Shylock returns not only to the
same imagerythe gaping pig (IV.i.53) and the woolen bagpipe
(IV.i.55)but he also bookends his speech with the simple question, Are
you answered? (IV.i.61). Here, Shylocks tightly controlled speech reflects
the narrow and determined focus of his quest to satisfy his hatred.
The speechs imagery is of the prosaic sort typical of Shylock. Other
characters speak in dreamily poetic tones, evoking images of angels and
waters scented with spice, but Shylock draws on the most mundane
examples to prove his point. To him, Antonio is a rat, and his dislike of
Antonio no more odd than that which some men have toward pigs or cats.
Shylock uses bodily functions to drive home his point, likening rage to
urination in a crass turn of phrase that is unique to his character. Also,
Shylocks rage takes on an apparent arbitrariness. Originally, Shylocks
gripe with Antonio seems based on a carefully meditated catalogue of the
Venetians crimes. Here, however, it appears little more than a whim, a
swing of the pendulum that sways to affections moods (IV.i.50). By
relying on the defense that his actions are justified simply because he feels
like them, Shylock appears unpredictable and whimsical, and he further
fuels our perception of his actions as careless and cruel.

3. You have among you many a purchased slave
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs.
Why sweat they under burdens?.. . .
You will answer
The slaves are ours. So do I answer you.
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is dearly bought. Tis mine, and I will have it.
Ans Again, in this passage, we find Shylock cleverly using Venices own laws
to support his vengeful quest and enlisting societys cruelties in defense of
his own. Shylock begins his speech on a humane note, yet this opening
serves merely to justify his indulgence in the same injustices he references.
Shylock has no interest in exposing the wrongfulness of owning or
mistreating slaves. Such property rights simply happen to be established
by Venetian laws, so Shylock uses them to appeal for equal protection. If
Antonio and company can purchase human flesh to use in abject and in
slavish parts, Shylock reasons, then he can purchase part of the flesh of a
Venetian citizen (IV.i.91). In his mind, he has merely extended the law to
its most literal interpretation. Unlike the Venetians, who are willing to
bend or break the law to satisfy their wants, Shylock never strays from its
letter in his pursuit of his bond. His brand of abiding by the law, however,
is made unsavory by the gruesome nature of his interpretation.

4. The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. . . . . .
It is enthrond in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest Gods
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
Ans Even as she follows the standard procedure of asking Shylock for mercy,
Portia reveals her skills by appealing to his methodical mind. Her
argument draws on a careful process of reasoning rather than emotion.
She states first that the gift of forgiving the bond would benefit Shylock,
and second, that it would elevate Shylock to a godlike status. Lastly,
Portia warns Shylock that his quest for justice without mercy may result in
his own damnation. Although well-measured and well-reasoned, Portias
speech nonetheless casts mercy as a polarizing issue between Judaism and
Christianity. Her frequent references to the divine are appeals to a clearly
Christian God, and mercy emerges as a marker of Christianity. Although
it seems as if Portia is offering an appeal, in retrospect her speech becomes
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an ultimatum, a final chance for Shylock to save himself before Portia
crushes his legal arguments.

5. The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stategems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.

Ans By Act V, with Shylock stowed safely offstage, Shakespeare returns to the
comedic aspects of his play. He lightens the mood with a harmless
exchange of rings that serves to reunite the lovers, and he brings
Antonios lost ships back to port. Because Shylock has been such a
large, powerful presence in the play, and because his decimation at the
hands of the Venetians is profoundly disturbing, the comedy in Belmont
never fully escapes the shadow of the troublesome issues that precede it.
The lovers happiness, then, is most likely little more than a brief passing
moment. This passage can be read as a meditation on the transitory nature
of the comforts one finds in a wearisome world. Lorenzo, ordering music
to celebrate Portias homecoming, reflects that music has the power to
change a mans nature. Much like a wild beast that can be tamed by the
sound of a trumpet, a man can be transformed into something less
stockish, hard, and full of rage (V.i.80). As the Venetians, all of whom
have exercised treasons, strategems, and spoils of one kind or another
throughout the play, congregate at Belmont, we imagine them as kinder
and happier than they have otherwise been, but we also know that the
music of Belmont will not likely survive on the streets of Venice (V.i.84).

ACT I, Scene I:
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile
Ans Commenting on Antonio's depressed state of mind, Solanio comes to the
conclusion that mother nature makes some "strange fellows" who will
laugh no matter what, and others who will smile at nothing.

You have too much respect upon the world:
They lose it that do buy it with much care
Ans Gratiano, a jolly fellow, advises Antonio to not concern himself so much
with his business affairs, as those who worry too much about their wordly
goods get no pleasure from them.

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Ans Antonio answers Gratiano's concern for his state of mind. Here he is
acting as Shakespeares mouthpiece, who believed was a man of the
stage and deeply attached to dramatics as a way of expressing social and
political concerns.

There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit
As who should say 'I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!'
O my Antonio, I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing
Ans Gratiano continues his speech which contrasts liveliness with stodginess
in a verbal attempt to return Antonio to his usual lively state. Gratiano
says that there are men whose facial expressions purposely freeze
("wilful stillness") into a lifeless and stiff ("cream and mantle")
faade in order to impress others with their own deep thought
("profound conceit"), wisdom and seriousness ("gravity")as if to
announce to the world at large that I am an oracle (a prophetic deity)
and even the dogs should be silenced when I speak. Gratiano tells
Antonio that he knows such men who have a reputation for wisdom,
based entirely on what they do not say.
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In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way with more advised watch,
To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
I oft found both
Ans Bassanio is trying to talk Antonio into lending him more money without
having returned the previous loan; in his allegory about the lost arrow (his
first loan), he finds the first arrow by shooting the second in the same
direction in order to find the first, which most often worked.

ACT I, Scene II:
They are as sick that surfeit
with too much as they that starve with nothing. It
is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the
mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but
competency lives longer.
Ans Portia, a wealthy woman, has just expressed her discontent with life,
which causes her waiting woman, Nerissa to philosophize about wealth
versus poverty, saying that both the wealthy and the poor suffer equally,
that moderate means ("to be seated in the mean") is preferable. Nerissa
says that overabundance ("superfluity") comes sooner through your
family (the white-haired ancestors), but median revenue is more reliable.

Q If to do were as easy as to know what were good
to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's
cottages princes' palaces.
Ans Portia tells Nerissa that if doing were as simple as knowing, then chapels
would be churches and cottages would be palaces, i.e., anyone would be
able to fulfill their wishes and everyone would become rich.

Q. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper
leaps o'er a cold decree
Ans Portia continues her theme of knowing versus doing when she says that
the brain may devise a plan for the body to carry out ("laws for the
blood"), but the mind's cold order ("decree") is no competition for the
passions, particularly the passion of an impetuous temperament ("hot

When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and
when he is worst, he is little better than a beast:
Ans Portia is decidedly not enthused about the young German as a
suitor or a man.

Q. ACT I, Scene III:
Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats
and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I
mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters,
winds and rocks.
Ans Shylock is pointing out the drawbacks of the shipping business to
Bassanio so that he will be appreciative of any monies advanced.

Q Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which
your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I
will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,
walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat
with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.
Ans Perhaps in an aside where he is thinking to himself, Shylock, a Jew, points
out the differences between his culture and the Christian culture practiced
by Bassanio and Antonio. Shylock expresses his revulsion to smelling and
eating pork and implies that Christians should feel the same way, since
Christ ("the Nazarite") cast the spirit causing a man's insanity into a herd
of swine, which makes pigs the "habitation" of the devil.

Q. How like a fawning publican he looks!
I hate him for he is a Christian
But more for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation,
and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
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Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,
If I forgive him!
Ans Shylock, in an aside, reveals his own intolerance of Christians when he
calls Antonio a "publican" (a tax collector) who is being genial ("fawning")
strictly to borrow money. The second thing he has against Antonio is that
he loans out money at no charge which brings down the rate of interest
("usance") Shylock and other Venetian money lenders can charge. Shylock
promises himself that he will take revenge ("feed fat the ancient grudge I
bear him") if he sees a weakness ("If I can catch him once upon the hip")
that could work to his advantage. The third thing which enrages Shylock
is the damage Antonio does to his reputation when he "rails" against his
business practices with other merchants. Shylock calls for a curse upon his
own "tribe," the Jews, if he forgives Antonio his grievances.

Q. Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
Ans Antonio reveals his own prejudices when he tells Bassanio to take
especial note: "the devil" (Shylock) knows how to cite biblical passages
which justify his profiteering. Antonio then compares Shylock's tactics
("an evil soul producing holy witness") to a criminal who commits crimes
with a smile on his face and to an apple which looks perfect ("goodly") on
the outside, but is rotten at the center.

Q. Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness,
Say this:
"Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys"?
Ans Shylock asks Antonio why he should lend him money after the abuse
Antonio has dealt him.

Q. I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.
Ans Bassanio is telling Antonio that generous lending terms from the wicked-
minded should be suspect: Bassanio does not approve of the deal Antonio
just made with Shylock.

Q. ACT II, Scene I:
Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun
Ans In the Prince of Morocco's first attempt to gain Portia's attention and
affection, he commands her not to judge him by the color of his skin since
he belongs to the livery of the sun itself; Morocco equates having black
skin to an exalted relationship with the reigning sun.

Q. If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand
Ans Morocco illustrates for Portia the part chance ("fortune") plays in the
outcome of events when he brings up the image of Hercules and his slave
playing dice, saying it is possible for Hercules' slave ("the weaker hand")
to beat his master due to the part played by chance.

Q. ACT II, Scene II:
No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father,
though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man
Ans Launcelot has just asked Gobbo if he is inquiring "of young Master
Launcelot," but Gobbo (his true father) returns that Launcelot does not
deserve the title of "master" since he is "a poor man's son," but that his
father, though poor, is honestbeyond expectations for his station in life.

Q. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my
age, my very prop.
Ans Gobbo swears when Launcelot announces his own death, saying that
his son was everything to him, his support in old age, and what got him
up in the morning.
Q. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child.
Ans Launcelot insults his father, Gobbo, by calling him a fool in a roundabout
waysaying that even if Gobbo weren't blind he might mistake his son
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for someone else because it takes a wise father to recognize his son,
cleverly reversing the usual proverb, "It is a wise child that knows his own

Q. ACT II, Scene V:
Hear you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish'd faces
Ans Shylock instructs his daughter, Jessica, to lock up the house when she
hears the drum and the "vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife" (who gets a
wry neck from playing with his head to one side) which announce the
approach of the Christian parade. Once again Shylock's intolerance
motivates his plans: his daughter must especially not be standing at the
windows ("casements"), nor hanging her head out the front door to watch
the foolish, masked ("varnish'd faces") Christians march by.

Q. ACT II, Scene VI:
That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
With that keen appetite that he sits down?
Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.
How like a younger or a prodigal
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!
Ans Salerio has just told Gratiano that he is surprised that Launcelot is late, as
people in love are always in a hurry (to get back to their absent lovers);
Gratiano agrees with Salerio, extending the comparison to the appetite
experienced before and after a feast and then to the speed and enthusiasm
of a horse as he first begins his paces to his later repetitions. Gratiano
expands his comparison to a general statement which declares that all
events are better in the anticipation than their performance ("more spirit
chased than enjoy'd"). Gratiano then declares that a merchant ship ("bark")
is merrier decked out in flags ("scarfed") and in better repair when it
embarks than when, like the prodigal son, the ship returns to port lean,
and looks like a beggar who has been battered to tatters by wind and

Q. But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
Ans Jessica feels embarrassed in her boy's clothes and declares to Lorenzo that
lovers cannot recognize their own foolishness due to the blindness of love;
if lovers could see themselves in a dispassionate light, even Cupid would
blush at folly like hers which called for boys' clothing.

Q. What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
Ans Lorenzo tells Jessica that she needs to descend in order to be his
torchbearer in the parade and Jessica pleads with Lorenzo, asking him if it
is really necessary to hold up a candle to her own shame.

Q. ACT II, Scene VII:
Men that hazard all
Do it in hope of fair advantages:
A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
Ans Morocco is reading the casket inscriptions trying to pry the truth out of
riddles and choose the casket which contains Portia's picture
appropriately representing Portia herself whose betrothal is the grand
prize. The leaden casket admonishes the hopeful that he who chooses the
lead must "hazard all he hath." Morocco says to himself that "a golden
mind stoops not to shows of dross," and so decides that being golden, he
will not lower himself and risk everything on the unappealing baseness of
lead, thus assuming that the exterior is a reflection of the value within.

Q. All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
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But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold."
Ans Morocco's wrong choice, the golden casket, holds a scroll which points
out in rhyme the foolishness of his choice, beginning with the famous
phrase, "All that glitters is not gold," followed by eight more lines ending
in words which rhyme with "gold," which gives the words a sing-song, I-
told-you-so effect. The lyrics say that everyone has heard this phrase "All
that glitters is not gold," so the phrase is already famous, yet men sell their
lives for gold, just to gaze upon gold from the outside when inside worms
(agents of decay) may reside. The scroll speaks directly to Morocco, who
has made the wrong choice, because he is easily fooled by exteriors
(appearances) and not as "wise" as he is "bold" (to take on the challenge in
the first place). The scroll bids the suitor farewell, saying the his only
chance is over ("your suit is cold").

Q. ACT II, Scene VIII:
I never heard a passion so confused,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:
"My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter! A sealed bag, two sealed
bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter!
And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,
Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl;
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats."
Ans Solanio tells Salerio that Shylock was so upset when he discovered that
his daughter had run away with a Christian and had stolen his money and
jewels to finance the trip, that he was howling incoherently in the street
repeating the words, "Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!";
people could not tell what he missed most.

Q. ACT II, Scene IX:
"Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire."
What many men desire! that "many" may be meant
By the fool multitude, that choose by show
Ans The Prince of Arragon is trying to decipher the meaning of the words on
the gold casket; he distrusts the word "many" before "men" as he knows
the desires of crowds are governed by the grossest exterior standards of
appearance ("show") only.

Q. I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Ans Prince Arragon is deciding whether or not to choose the gold casket when
he decides against siding with the many because he identifies the tastes of
crowds as unsophisticated ("common") and uncivilized ("barbarous").

Q. Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O, that estates, degrees and offices
Were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honor
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
Ans While Arragon is trying to decide whether or not to choose the silver
casket ("Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves"), he considers
the import of "deserves," declaring that "estates, degrees and offices" are
not purchased commodities, not "undeserved dignity," but "clear honor,"
earned by "merit." Arragon laps up his own reasoning about deserved
merit, declaring that he is deserving, so this casket must hold his well-
deserved prize.

Q. Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow's bliss
Ans The scroll Arragon finds within the silver casket announces his wrong
choice in words just as enigmatic as the hint, ("Who chooseth me shall get
as much as he deserves") when it includes a couplet about shadows for the
loser, which implies that the successful contender will want more
quietude than can be provided by a shadow's kiss, which by its very
nature (having no separate existence of its own after the sun and moon
set) can provide only temporary bliss.

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Q. ACT III, Scene I:
a beggar, that was used to come so smug upon
the mart; let him look to his bond: he was wont to
call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was
wont to lend money for a Christian cur'sy; let him
look to his bond.
Ans Shylock lists Antonio's offences for Salerio, demanding Antonio "look to
his bond" (the contract he signed which included a pound of Antonio's
flesh as forfeiture) in between listing Antonio's next fault; Shylock
repeating the same words over as a refrain alters their meaningturning
them into a threat, as if Antonio should be wondering whether he could
survive a one pound reduction.

Q. I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
he same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
Ans Shylock seems to be justifying the revenge he has planned for Antonio in
advance, as he seems to be desperately excusing himself by asking if Jews
are any different from Christians in a series of rhetorical questions which
query their parallel experiences.

Q. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.
Ans Again Shylock seems to be rationalizing his future actions in advance,
saying that any villainy practiced through revenge by a Jew (such as
himself) would have been learned at the hands of Christians (such as his
listeners, Salerio and Solanio) although Shylock plans to improve
("better") upon his instructionanother statement which sounds like a

Q. Tubal: it was my
turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:
I would not have given it for a
wilderness of monkeys.
Ans Shylock has just received the news from his servant, Tubal, that his
daughter traded his turquoise (which she stole from Shylock when she
eloped) for a monkey. Shylock says that his wife gave it to him before they
were married and that he would not trade it for a whole wilderness full of

Q. ACT III, Scene II:
There's something tells me, but it is not love,
I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
Ans Portia is beseeching Bassanio not to hazard a guess, as something is
telling her (not the voice of love) that she will lose him; Portia assures him
"hate" would not give such advice ("counsel").

Q. Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end
Fading in music
Ans Portia announces to all present that music shall play as Bassanio makes
his choice, so if he goes down to defeat, at least he will go down
elegantlylike a swan singing the last song he will ever sing.

Q. Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
[All.] Reply, reply.
It is engend'red in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Ans "Tell me where is fancy (infatuation or love) bred" is the first line of the
song the
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Musicians sing upon Portia's order that music be played while Bassanio
makes his choice. The next line of lyric asks where love beginsin the
heart or the brain. How love begins and, once begun, what keeps it going
is the final question. The answer is that infatuation is generated by
eyesight, and is fed by continued gazing. Fancy dies in the infant's cradle
when sexual infatuation is transformed into a baby.

Q. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil?
Ans As Bassanio is making his casket selection, he considers how easily
people are fooled by ornamentation: in law the ornament is the "gracious
voice"speech characterized by courtesy or civility, which obscures the
corruption or tainted truth that may lie at the heart of the legal matter.

Q. There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts
Ans Bassanio who is still considering his choice of caskets in his speech about
man's weakness for ornamentation, argues further that no vice exists
without an alluring exterior.

Q. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.
Ans Bassanio continues his meditation upon the influence of ornamentation in
the choices men make, saying that the beguiled ("guiled") shore is the
epitome of ornamentation which enchants men upon "a most dangerous
sea" (bordered all around by the ornamented shore), which is parallel to
the enchantment provided by a beautiful scarf veiling "an Indian beauty,"
and also parallels the current "cunning times" which disguise truth and
trap the wisest of men with their exterior ornamentation.

Q. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy!
Ans Portia is trying to calm the rush of emotions which overtake her when she
witnesses Bassanio's correct choice of the lead casket, the least
ornamented choice, but the correct response for Portia's hand in marriage.

Q. Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn
Ans Portia is desperately seeking her own strong points, acknowledging that
she is an unschooled girl, but she has youth and breeding on her side,
which may grant her the ability to learn from her mistakes.

Q. Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady Gentle lady,
When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you, all the wealth I had
Ran in my veins
Ans Bassanio has just received a letter from Antonio and is trying to explain to
Portia how he caused Antonio's current trouble with Shylock. First
Bassanio exclaims how these are the worst words he has ever seen in a
letter and then he asks Portia if she remembers when he first told her of
his love, that he did not pretend to be rich: he told her all the riches he
possessed ran in his veins. In other words, he is a gentleman by birth, but

Q. ACT III, Scene III:
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs:
The duke shall grant me justice.
Ans Antonio is trying to get Shylock to listen to him, but Shylock is too busy
working himself up into a frenzyrepeating "I will have my bond," and
accusing Antonio of calling him a dog before he had a reason to treat him
like a dog. Shylock then warns Antonio to watch out for his fangsthe
enforcement of his forfeiture, which calls for a pound of Antonio's flesh.

Q. ACT III, Scene V:
Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
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mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I
fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
gone both ways.
Ans Launcelot, the clown, has just suggested to Jessica that Shylock might not
be her biological father and Jessica has replied that means she will be
visited by the sins of her mother. Launcelot then says that he fears she is
damned by both parents: to escape her father, Scylla (a sea-monster), she
must fall into Charybdis (a whirlpool), so Jessica is doomed either way.
[Greek mythology says the Charybdis was a whirlpool off the Sicilian
coast, personified as a ship-devouring sea monster and located opposite
the cave of Scylla, so avoiding one without falling prey to the other was

Q ACT IV, Scene I:
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Ans The Duke has just asked Shylock why he would prefer a pound of flesh to
3,000 ducats and Shylock has just said he will not give a reason, but he
keeps on talking anyway, comparing his "humour" (his desire for
Antonio's flesh) to other people's unreasonable fears of cats, pigs and
bagpipe playing.

Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Ans After Shylock finishes his long explanation that does not explain why he
insists upon Antonio's pound of flesh, Bassanio calls him on it, saying that
his answer explains nothing and there is no excuse for his "current" of
"cruelty." Shylock retorts that his answers do not have to please Bassanio
which is when Bassanio asks the cryptic question, "Do all men kill the
things they do not love?" Bassanio is saying that hate is not a sufficient
reason to kill; Shylock's comeback seems straightforward, but is contrary
to his position, so once again Shylock uses clever responses to obscure,
instead of elucidating his true motive.

Every offence is not a hate at first.
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
Ans The contest of wills continues between Bassanio and Shylock when
Bassanio declares that it takes more than one offense to build up to hate
and Shylock asks Bassanio if a serpent has to sting him twice before he
gets the message.

Q. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
Ans Antonio compares himself to the weakest sheep in the flock and the over
ripe fruit about to drop, meaning he is close to death. Antonio encourages
Bassanio to let him die, saying that Bassanio can live to write his epitaph.

Q. Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men
Ans Gratiano is disgusted with Shylock, declaring that he might doubt his
own religious beliefs because of Shylock's example and side with
Pythagoras who believed in the transmigration of souls.

Q. I never knew so young a body with
so old a head.
Ans The Duke is reading a letter from Bellario, a legal expert, which
recommends the young but learned Balthasar (who is really Portia
dressed as a man) as a respected legal consultant.

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Q. The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
Ans Portia (dressed as Balthasar, the legal consultant) has just stated that the
Jew must be merciful and Shylock has asked "on what compulsion"; this
famous speech about mercy is Shylock's answer. Portia picks up the
"compulsion" thread when she says the quality of mercy is not constrained
("strain'd"), but falls freely from heaven and is a double blessing because it
blesses those who grant mercy and those who receive it. Mercy has the
largest effect on the mighty ("'Tis mightiest in the mightiest"), perhaps
because the decisions of those in power effect many people. Mercy
"becomes" a king more than his crown, as it shows the king to the best
advantage. Mercy is higher (both literally and figuratively) than the
"sceptred sway," the awe and majesty represented by the royal staff, as
mercy resides in the heart, and is an attribute of God; therefore, when
mercy is added to the earthly power of justice, divinity is reflected. Portia
tells Shylock that though he seeks justice, he should not expect "salvation"
(deliverance of everything desired), but pray for mercy which should
teach us all the importance extending mercy to others.

Q. Wrest once the law to your authority:
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
Ans Bassanio has just told everyone that the Jew will not accept twice the sum
owed and implores the Duke to unite his authority with the law, to "do a
little wrong" in order to serve true justice ("a great right") and curb
Shylock's cruel will, which does not accept compromise.

Q. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
Ans Shylock exclaims in delight when Portia (as Balthasar) declares that no
power in Venice can alter an established decree. He honors the judge by
calling him (her) Daniel, who in biblical times intervened in a case in
order to save an innocent.

Q. How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
Ans Portia has just stated that the bond appears to be in accordance with the
lawa statement which elicits additional praise from Shylock who calls
young Balthasar (Portia) "elder," meaning that she is unexpectedly wise
for her years.

Is it so nominated in the bond?
It is not so express'd: but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.
I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
Ans Portia (as Balthasar) has just asked Shylock if he has a surgeon to keep
Antonio from bleeding to death once the pound of flesh is cut away.
Shylock asks if that requirement is stated in the bond and Portia responds
that the bond does not spell out that requirement, but he should do it for
the sake of "charity" (respect due a fellow human being). Once again
Shylock responds that he cannot find it in the bond (which states all the
legal requirements).

Of such misery doth she cut me off.
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Ans Antonio tells Bassanio not to grieve because this whole situation is his
fault, but to celebrate his friend's good luck, as Fortune quite frequently
lets old men outlive their wealth to die in poverty: Antonio will avoid this

Q. I have a daughter;
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
Ans The talk turns to what a husband should or should not do, which causes
Shylock to comment in an aside that he would rather have his daughter
marry the worst kind of Jew in preference to a Christian (especially any of
these Christians).

Q. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
Ans Gratiano is mocking Shylock's previous words of praise for Balthasar,
much like an audience boos the opposing team.

Q. Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
Ans Gratiano is cheering on his friend Antonio by calling Shylock an "infidel"
and saying, essentially, "I gotcha!".

Q. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Ans Portia (as Balthasar) has just made Shylock's flesh forfeiture impossible;
she has also denied Shylock the bond's original principal, so Gratiano is
continuing to mock and taunt the Jew (mimicking his earlier allusion to
Daniel as a compliment to Balthasar) and letting Shylock know that his
losses are Gratiano's delight.

Q. Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
Ans Portia (as Balthasar) has assigned half of Shylock's wealth to Antonio and
the other half to the state; Portia has also ordered Shylock to beg mercy
from the Duke to spare his life. The Duke pardons the Jew's life "before
thou ask it," but Shylock declares that he should go ahead and take his
life, as divesting him of his wealth robs him of the ability to make a living,
which puts both his house and his life in jeopardy.

Q. He is well paid that is well satisfied;
And I, delivering you, am satisfied
Ans Antonio has just thanked Portia (as Balthasar) by saying he will always be
indebted to her in "love and service." Portia replies that saving his life is
satisfaction enoughthe satisfaction itself makes her feel "well paid."

Q. ACT V, Scene I:
The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself
And ran dismay'd away.
In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea banks and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Aeson.
Ans Lorenzo and Jessica are new lovers enjoying a balmy summer night
together when Lorenzo brings up the names of famous lovers, saying that
it must have been a night such as this that Troilus climbed a wall near
Cressid's tent and sighed with his soul full of his love for her. Jessica
returns that it must have been a night such as this that Thisbe, another
famous but ill-fated lover, was on her way to see her lover when she was
frightened by the shadow of a lion. Lorenzo counters that on such a night
English literature 117
Dido, Queen of Carthage, stood on "the wild sea banks" wishing her lover
home. Jessica then claims that on such a night Medea, an enchantress,
gathered the magic herbs to bring youth to her lover's father. As Jessica
later says, she and Lorenzo are out-nighting each other.

Q. How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patenes of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Ans Lorenzo is once more putting the night into words as he speaks to Jessica,
his love. He personifies the "sweet" moonlight, saying that it sleeps on the
bank where they will sit and listen to the "soft stillness and the night,"
which shall become harmonic in their ears. He tells Jessica to sit and see
how the "floor of heaven" seems to be composed of small, interwoven
golden disks. Lorenzo declares that the motion of even the smallest
celestial orb that she sees creates its own musical harmony, like the sound
of angels singing to the cherubs; that same harmony exists in our
immortal souls, but as long as we live and our souls are enclosed by our
earthly bodies, we cannot hear the music of the spheres.

Q. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
Ans Jessica declares to Lorenzo that hearing sweet music never makes her
happy, which gives Lorenzo a talking point for his following speech about

Q. The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Ans Lorenzo has just told Jessica that even a wild frolicking herd of horses
will pause to listen to music, which makes the man who is not affected by
music, which he describes next, seem particularly bereft. Lorenzo declares
that a man without music or music appreciation is a born conniver, whose
spirits are unresponsive (merriment was thought to enliven the spirits'
motions within the body) and affections are as dark as the primeval
darkness ("Erebus") itself: such men were not to be trusted.

Q. That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ans As Portia approaches her home, she exclaims to Nerissa how bright the
small candle seems: Portia personifies the candle, saying that it "throws
his beams," which reminds her of the metaphorical light of a good deed in
a wicked world.

Q. The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Ans Portia has just told Nerissa that the music emanating from her house
sounds sweeter than it sounds during the day and Nerissa has said the
improvement is due to the contrasting silence of the night. Along the same
line of thinking, Portia says that a single birdsong is superior to the
cacophony of many and then declares that the highly regarded
nightingale call, sung beside a cackling goose (during the day) would lose
its charm. She concludes that many events are perfected by occurring
during their season (their appropriate time and place); the seasoning (the
enhancement) of season makes it seem like nature knows exactly what it is
doing by promoting beauty which deserves praise.

Q. This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
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Ans Now Portia is putting the night into words when she says the night "is
but the daylight sick" because it looks paler than usuallike a cloudy day.

Q. Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband
Ans Bassanio has just complimented his wife, saying that no sun is needed
due to Portia's (metaphorical) light and Portia responds with a play on
words, " Let me give light, but let me not be light," as being light was
equivalent to wantonness which makes for a sad ("heavy") husband.

Q. Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Ans Bassanio is attempting to defend himself against Portia's alleged anger
over his giving Balthazar, the doctor of law who saved Antonio's life, the
ring which was his wife's first gift. Bassanio asks her pardon and swears
by the "blessed candles of the night" that she would have begged him for
the ring to give to the doctor had she been present. The audience is
enjoying these ring discussions because Bassanio and Gratiano are the
only ones who do not know Portia was disguised as the doctor and
Nerissa played her clerk.



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