Questions for Merchant of Venice

For Monday, please answer question 6. No Wed. thinksheet.

For Friday, please answer question 4 or 7.

Norton essays TBD

1.   In Act IV, Scene 1, line 170 Portia asks “Which is the Merchant here? And which the Jew?”  What is the significance of this question?

2.  Who are Portia’s suitors?  How does the test of the caskets reflect the thematics of the play?
What does it mean to give and hazard all one has?

3.  What is the significance of the Lancelot subplot?  How does this subplot work in relation to the other plot-lines in the play?  What is the significance of Old Gobbo’s blindness?

4. In Act III, scene 5, Launcelot seems to question the true nature of Jessica’s identity.  Do you think her conversion is a true conversion? How would you characterize it?

5.  Shylock often asserts that he “stands for law.”  What does Law mean here?  How does it resonate with ideas about supersession?

6.  How does this play reflect/echo/answer The Jew of Malta?

7.  Act III, scene 1, line 47 ff.  This speech is arguably the play’s most famous.  Many have used it as evidence of Shylock’s humanity and Shakespeare’s humanizing portrayal?  How do you read these lines?  What is their effect?