In ICSE English Literature for Class 9 & 10, The Merchant of Venice Question Answers Act 3 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 3 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 3


 In what sense is Antonio a prodigal? Is he bankrupt? Explain Shylock’s views. Give your comments.


When Salarino talks about Antonio’s losses, Shylock speaks impatiently. He had given a loan of three thousand ducats against this man’s security. Shylock calls Antonio a bankrupt who has no money to spend. All he had has been lost. Antonio is accused of being a prodigal by Shylock. He has wasted his money without thinking. Antonio has ruined himself by taking out a loan for his extravagant friend, according to Shylock. It is a culpable prodigality. While it may not be right to blame a self-sacrificing gentleman like Antonio, Shylock may have a point.

Point out in what all ways the Christians and Jews are alike?


Christians and Jews have similar wishes, desires, feelings, and emotions. Like Christians, Jews have hands, organs, limbs and senses. The food they eat is the same, the weapons they use are the same, the diseases they suffer from are the same, and the medicines they take are the same as well. Like Christians, they feel heat and cold.

Explain the last sentence in Shylock’s speech.


Christian Antonio is treated in a very cruel and wicked manner by Christians, and now Shylock too will follow the Christian examples by treating him in the same way. The Christian Antonio would be treated more cruelly by Shylock than the Christians have been treating the Jews.

What does Portia mean by, “I would detain you here some month or two/Before you venture for me”? Why does she speak in this manner?


Portia tells Bassanio not to choose the casket. Her intention is to detain him there for a month or two before letting him take the final plunge. Earlier in the line, she mentioned detaining him for a day or two. The time has extended to ‘a month or two’. It is evident that the style indicates a maiden’s hidden love that is hard for her to conceal.

How can you conclude at this point of the play that Portia has already fallen in love with Bassanio?


We can easily conclude at this point in the play that Portia is already in love with Bassanio. We can surely conclude from her cautious confessions and nervous manner that she is passionately in love with the handsome suitor. When Portia says that Bassanio’s eyes have bewitched and divided her, she speaks the language of a romantic lover. Bassanio already owns half of her. Bassanio also owns the other half of her body. He is the sole owner of her. She is no longer in control of herself. A disease called love has these symptoms.

Why did Bassanio choose the lead casket?


Bassanio chose the lead casket because of its unassuming appearance and lack of attractive promises. Leaders threaten rather than promise. As a result, it has an intrinsic value. Its pale appearance is more attractive, ultimately, than the bright appearance of the other two metals. According to the inscription on the leaden casket, Bassanio had a gambling and adventurous spirit. For love, he will risk everything. He could put his friend’s life at risk for this.

What reason does Antonio give for his hatred of the person who seeks his life? Is this the only reason?


Anthony claims that Shylock hates him because he rescued many debtors from Shylock’s clutches. A number of debtors who had forfeited their bonds to repay Shylock’s debts had approached Antonio with complaints against Shylock’s cruelty, and Antonio had provided them with loans.

Who are referred to as ‘bragging jacks’? In what favourable condition will the speaker be to practice tricks” on these bragging Jacks?


Those boastful young men who often talk about their imaginary adventures in love and war are Portia’s. They are called ‘bragging Jacks’. Portia will appear as a young man. Her maid Nerissa will be as well. Portia is confident, however, that she will appear smarter. She will be able to play those bragging Jacks perfectly.

Where does Portia really plan to go? What was the purpose of her mission?


Portia plans to go to Venice in order to save Antonio’s life. She is seeking advice from Dr. Bellario of Padua, who is an authority on Venetian law. She will appear in the Duke’s court when Antonio is brought to trial.