In ICSE English Literature for Class 9 & 10, The Merchant of Venice Question Answers Act 1 makes easier to understand the play by each scene. Students can memorize answers to questions more precisely. This will boost their confidence and make them prepare for the examination. Here, Act 1 questions and answers are given. As a result, their confidence will rise and they’ll be better prepared to take the test.


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The Merchant of Venice Question Answers Act 1


What has Antonio narrated that makes the speaker say that Antonio’s mind is tossing on the ocean?


Antonio has just narrated the state of his mind. He is sad without knowing the reason what makes him sad. He does know the nature of his mysterious sadness, nor does he know the source of its origin. This sadness had made him stupid. On hearing Antonio’s explanation, his friend, Salarino tries to diagnose the disease. He guesses that Antonio is sad because he is worried about merchant-ships gone in different directions on the sea.


What does the passage tell us about the relation between Bassanio and Antonio?


From the passage we come to know that Bassanio and Antonio are very good friends. Bassanio has full faith in Antonio and he discloses to Antonio all his plans and thoughts. Bassanio tells Antonio everything about his past and present life. Antonio has been a good friend to Bassanio. In the past Antonio has lent money to Bassanio.


Who is Nerissa? What is her relationship with Portia? Where are Portia and Nerissa speaking? What is the special significance of that place?


Nerissa is a waiting woman for Portia. Her relationship with Portia is not that of a mistress and a servant but that of two friends who are free and frank in their speeches. Portia and Nerissa are speaking from Belmont, the city where Portia lives, the rich, young lady. The significance of this place is that many suitors are coming here in the hope of marrying this beautiful lady. They have to win the game of lottery by choosing the right casket in order to qualify for winning the lady’s hand.


How does Nerissa explain why Portia’s body is “aware of this great world? Where does the happiness lie according to Nerissa?”


According to Nerissa, Portia is aware of this world in spite of her good fortunes. She draws the conclusion that those who have too much of everything are as sick of the world as those who have nothing. It is no small happiness therefore to occupy a middle position.


Why does Shylock “take his bond”, and what does he gain or lose thereby?


“Take his bond” means “accept Antonio as surety for the repayment of the loan”. Shylock gains the opportunity to take his revenge upon Antonio, but soon afterwards loses the opportunity. He is thwarted in his purpose by the superior intelligence of Portia and by her ingenuity in interpreting the bond in such a way as to frustrate Shylock’s design. But Shylock does experience a sense of exultation, though temporarily, at finding that he might, after all, be able to take his revenge upon Antonio.


What kindness is referred to by Bassanio ? Which are the legal formalities proposed by Shylock before he would give the loan?


Bassanio is referring to Shylock’s offer to advance a loan of three thousand ducats, on which he will charge no interest. According to Bassanio, it will be an act of kindness. Shylock, however, proposes that certain legal formalities may be completed before he would give the loan. They will go to a Notary, an official who attests agreements of this kind. There, Antonio will execute a bond, affirming that if the money is not repaid on the fixed day, Antonio will lose a pound of flesh to be cut of from any part of his body.