Merchant of Venice Questions Act 4

Page 1 of 2

Merchant of Venice Questions Act 4

By | May 2013
Page 1 of 2
The Merchant of Venice
Questions Act IV

Before the trial proper begins, what does Antonio say the Duke has already tried to do (4.1.1-12)? Antonio says he knows the duke has done all that he can to lawfully counter Shylock’s malicious intentions, and that since nothing else can be done, Antonio will respond to Shylock’s rage “with a quietness of spirit”. What does the Duke assume Shylock will do (4.1.15-33)? What is Shylock's response? Why is Shylock unwilling to show mercy? How does he respond to the Venetians and their call for mercy (4.1.88-99)? What is his ultimate claim (even "threat") in demanding justice (4.1.100-101)? The duke summons Shylock into the courtroom and addresses him, saying that he believes that Shylock means only to frighten Antonio by extending this drama to the brink of performance. No one, the duke says, believes that Shylock actually means to inflict such a horrible penalty on Antonio, who has already suffered the loss of his ships. Shylock reiterates his intentions and says that should the court deny him his right, the city’s very laws and freedoms will be forfeit. Shylock offers no explanation for his insistence other than to say that certain hatreds, like certain passions, are lodged deep within a person’s heart. Shylock hates Antonio, and for him that is reason enough. Who is Bellario (4.1.103-106)? Why is he coming?

Bellario is a wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portia’s cousin. Doctor Bellario never appears in the play, but he gives Portia’s servant the letters of introduction needed for her to make her appearance in court. He comes to the court because Duke wants him to decide the matter. While the Duke is reading the letter from Bellario (see 4.1.109), why does Antonio say he is fit to die? Because Antonio knows that Shylock wont back down and that the deal was what it was, and that the judge is going to go with justice and that a deal is a deal. What is Shylock doing while the Duke and Nerissa are talking (4.1.120-123)? When...