Understanding The Merchant of Venice Flashcards

What is the central conflict in ‘The Merchant of Venice’?

The central conflict is between Antonio, a Christian merchant, and Shylock, a Jewish moneylender.
Antonio borrows money from Shylock to help his friend Bassanio, agreeing to forfeit a pound of his flesh if he cannot repay the loan.

What condition does Shylock impose on Antonio for the loan?

Shylock stipulates that if Antonio fails to repay the loan on time, he must forfeit a pound of his flesh.

What test must Portia’s suitors pass to marry her?

Portia’s suitors must choose correctly from three caskets (gold, silver and lead) as part of her father’s will. The correct choice grants the right to marry her.

How does Portia save Antonio in court?

Disguised as a lawyer, Portia argues that while Shylock is entitled to a pound of flesh, taking more or spilling any blood would constitute murder.
This loophole prevents Shylock from claiming his bond and leads to his downfall.

What happens to Shylock at the end of the trial?

Shylock is forced to forfeit half his wealth to the state and convert to Christianity to avoid the death penalty for attempting to harm a Venetian citizen.

How do Portia and Nerissa tease their husbands in Act 5?

Portia and Nerissa, disguised as men, trick their husbands into giving them their rings. Later, they pretend to be angry about the missing rings, accusing their husbands of infidelity, before revealing the truth and amusing them.

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