Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Duke: You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes:
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
[Enter Portia, dressed like a Doctor of Laws]
Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
Portia: I did, my lord.
Duke: You are welcome: take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
(i) Where is this scene set?
A court (of justice) / in Venice
Why was Portia there?
To assist at Antonio’s trial / to save Antonio from Shylock / from the bond he had signed with Shylock / to act as a lawyer / to help her husband save Antonio
(ii) What reason had Bellario given for his absence?
he was very sick / ill
Whom had he sent in his stead?
Balthazar / a young doctor of Rome / Portia in disguise
(iii) Bellario’s letter stated that he had taken some measures to prepare the ‘young and learned doctor’ to deal with the case. What were they?
(iv) What was the ‘difference’ between Shylock the Jew and Antonio the merchant that the Duke was unable to resolve?
(v) How does Portia succeed in saving Antonio?
What does this reveal of her character?
Portia proves that she is clever / quick-witted.