The Merchant of Venice

by William Shakespeare
Start Free Trial

Suggested Essay Topics

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 304

Act I, Scenes 1-3
1. Compare and contrast Antonio’s situation in signing the agreement with Shylock, with Portia’s situation of being held bound to her father’s will.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

2. Contrast Antonio’s loans to Bassanio with Shylock’s loan to Antonio and Bassanio

Act II, Scenes 1-9
1. What is the relationship—both structurally and thematically—of the Jessica/Lorenzo subplot to the main plots of The Merchant of Venice ?

2. Compare and contrast Morocco’s reasoning during the selection of caskets with Aragon’s speech during the same test.

3. Aside from the obvious one of comic relief, what function might Launcelot Gobbo be seen to have in the play?

Homework Help

Latest answer posted March 13, 2012, 3:34 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Act III, Scenes 1-5
1. Compare and contrast Bassanio’s deliberations over the three caskets with those of his rivals.

2. Discuss Shylock’s “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech in relation to the various attitudes toward race demonstrated throughout the play.

3. How does Portia’s character develop over the course of Act III?

Act IV, Scenes 1-2
1. What factors motivate Antonio’s resignation in Act IV, Scene 1? Discuss this in relation to his ambiguous position of both envying his friend’s new relationship and yet sacrificing himself to make it possible.

2. How does the plot of the rings relate to the other contractual obligations dramatized in the play?

3. Consider and discuss the process by which Portia turns the situation in the court from Shylock’s advantage to Antonio’s.

Act V, Scene 1
1. Trace the development of Portia from a daughter bound by her father’s will to a behind-the-scenes manipulator of events.

2. How do Lorenzo’s speeches concerning the moon and ¬music suggest other themes previously explored in The Merchant of Venice?

3. What purpose does the parallel romance of Gratiano and Nerissa serve in terms of an audience’s evaluation of the relationship between Bassanio and Portia?

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Teaching Approaches