Merchant of Venice Glossary and Character Sketch

Glossary—The Merchant of Venice Act I, Scene II 1. “By my troth”—a mild oath like “Upon my word” 2. aught—anything 3. surfeit—overindulge 4. superfluity—excess 5. Hare—to run fast 6. “overname them”—say their names over 7. colt—a young, or inexperienced person 8. Death’s-head—skull 9. a-cap’ring—dancing 10. pennyworth—a small amount 11. doublet—a close-fitting outer garment, with or without sleeves and sometimes having a short skirt, worn by men in the Renaissance; an undergarment, quilted and reinforced with mail, worn beneath arm. 12. ound hose—very full short breeches which varied in length from the upper thigh to just above the knee, giving a rounded look to the hips and showing off the leg. 13. surety—a person who assumes legal responsibility for the fulfillment of another’s debt or obligation and himself becomes liable if the other defaults. 14. viley—highly offensive, unpleasant, disgusting 15. Sibylla—the Sybil of Cumae, to whom Apollo granted as many years of life as there are grains in a handful of sand 16. Diana—goddess of chastity Character Report—Nerissa What does your character want in this scene?
Nerissa wants to know whether Portia has feelings for any of her suitors and whether she will consider disobeying her father’s will. What is your character’s motivation for doing what he or she does? She is Portia’s waiting-gentlewoman and friend, who is concerned about Portia’s future. Also, she shows some eagerness for Bassanio to arrive with her future husband, Gratiano. What obstacles stand in his or her way? Portia’s independence and defiance of her father’s will that causes Portia to show distaste toward all her suitors. What happens when your character confronts these obstacles?
Nerissa finds that the heiress might be interested in Bassanio. Are there any distinctive elements in your character’s way of speaking? (Is his of her language elaborate, plain, musical, or what? ) She is inquisitive and curious. What is your character thinking during the scene? (How does he or she react to the other characters and events? ) She in inquiring about Portia’s suitors. She must be interested in their futures. Character Report—Portia What does your character want in this scene? Portia wishes to choose the fate of her marriage instead of following her father’s will.

She also seems to express interest in Bassanio when he is mentioned. What is your character’s motivation for doing what he or she does? She is an orphan that has no say in who she marries so Portia motivation to protest is her want of freedom. Even after her father’s death, she is still under his control. What obstacles stand in his or her way? Her father’s will and the test of the caskets deciding her husband. What happens when your character confronts these obstacles? Nothing really, as she just points out all the flaws of the suitors she meets.
Are there any distinctive elements in your character’s way of speaking? (Is his of her language elaborate, plain, musical, or what? ) So far she has only spoken in complaints and a bit condenscendingly. What is your character thinking during the scene? (How does he or she react to the other characters and events? ) She is most likely thinking of loopholes to get out of her father’s demands. She is probably also thinking about Bassanio and when he will come court her. Company Report—Queen Murphy’s Two 1. What happens in your scene? Outline the basic events. . Portia complains about how she cannot choose a husband because of her deceased father’s will. Explains the caskets and the requirements for Portia’s hand in marriage. b. Nerissa names the different suitors of Portia and Portia points out all their flaws. c. Nerissa tells Portia that all the suitors were leaving and Nerissa mentions Bassanio. Portia is interested. d. A serving man appears stating that the Prince of Morocco is arriving soon. Portia doesn’t really care too much. 2. What do you think are the key purposes of your scene? a.
To introduce Portia and Nerissa as key characters and explaining their personalities. b. To explain the idea of the caskets (gold, silver, and lead) and the parameters behind Portia’s engagement. c. To foreshadow the relationship that will happen between Bassanio and Portia later on. 3. What are your reactions to this scene? That Portia seems to be stuck in a situation that she’s very stubborn about. To go against her father’s will, she is headstrong and picky in choosing her husband. I feel like supporting Portia to go for her need to be independent.

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