Bassanio: A gentle scroll. - Fair lady, by your leave

Merchant of Venice (10)

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Bassanio: A gentle scroll. - Fair lady, by your leave; [Kissing her]

I come by note, to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people’s eyes
Hearing applause and universal shout
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;


(i) Where did Bassanio find the ‘gentle scroll’?

Inside the leaden Casket / the casket that contained Portia’s portrait.

What ‘prize’ had Bassanio just won?

Portia’s hand in marriage

(ii) Explain why Bassanio said he felt ‘Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt’.

Bassanio felt

  • ‘Giddy’ / light headed with relief / delighted / excited / happy that he had chosen the right casket.
  • ‘Still gazing in a doubt’ – dazed / not able to believe that he had made the right choice and won Portia.
  • He had succeeded in a ‘competition’ where many had failed.
  • It had still not been validated / confirmed by Portia.

(iii) Shortly after this exchange, Portia gave Bassanio a ring as a token of her affection. What did the gift symbolise?

The ring was symbolic -

  • a token that said that she was giving Bassanio control over her house / her servants / herself
  • Portia’s trust / love / commitment / loyalty / possession / bond of marriage
  • If Bassanio loses the ring it means he does not love her

(iv) What assurance did Bassanio give her when he accepted the ring?

Bassanio promises when the ring parts from his finger then

  • his life would leave his body
  • Bassanio could be declared dead

Bassanio would die before he parted with the ring.

(v) What did Portia urge Bassanio to do when she learnt that his friend Antonio was in trouble?

  • Pay off the bond / offer twice or three times the sum to the Jew / pay 6000 and deface the bond/ double 6000 and treble that/ pay the debt 20 times over
  • Marry her
  • Leave for Venice immediately
  • Use her wealth to pay off the debt and
  • save Antonio from Shylock
  • Bring Antonio back with him to Belmont.

What aspect of her character is revealed through her words?

Loving wife / trusting / compassionate / willing to share her wealth helpful / caring