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Aesthetic Examination Questions on The Merchant of Venice

1. Discuss Antonio's character and his part in the play.

2. What about the development of character in Bassanio?

3. Discuss Launcelot in himself and in his relation to others. What about the Launcelot element in Hamlet, in Macbeth, in King Lear?

4. How would you describe Shylock in the early scenes of the play?

5. Does Shylock already look forward to compassing Antonio's death when he proposes the pound of flesh forfeiture? Your reasons.

6. Compare Shylock and Macbeth as to the progression of their natures.

7. What is it in the characters themselves that enables Shakespeare to satisfy our ideas of retributive justice while permitting Othello and Lear and Hamlet to perish and yet letting Shylock and lago live?

8. Discuss Jessica's character and conduct, particularly with reference to Shylock's influence and training; in contrast with Portia's home-influence.

9. Is the fifth act necessary dramatically or not, and what is its relation to the rest of the play?

10. Does the fifth act show the working out of the principles of good and evil? Why does Antonio appear in it and Shylock not?

11. How does Shakespeare set about delineating his chief characters as compared with other authors? What of the importance of his secondary characters?


Related Articles

 Setting, Atmosphere and the Unsympathetic Venetians in The Merchant of Venice
 Themes in The Merchant of Venice
 A Merry Devil: Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice
 Three Interpretations of Shylock

 Introduction to Shylock
 Shakespeare Sisterhood: Exploring the Character of Portia
 Exploring the Nature of Shakespearean Comedy
 How to Pronounce the Names in The Merchant of Venice

 The Character of Antonio
 The Merchant of Venice: Q & A
 Conflicts of Law and Equity in The Merchant of Venice
 Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet

 The Merchant of Venice: Plot Summary
 Famous Quotations from The Merchant of Venice
 Shakespeare Quotations (by Play and Theme)
 Quotations About William Shakespeare

 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels

 Shakespeare Timeline: Part 1 (1558-1599)
 A Shakespeare Timeline: Part 2 (1600-1604)
 A Shakespeare Timeline: Part 3 (1605-1616)
 Hamlet: Q & A

From An Illustration of Shakespeare by Branston, 1800.