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The Merchant of Venice - Illustrating and Supporting Points
The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark.

The Merchant of Venice - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz about The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare gives you an opportunity to test your skills in using evidence in support of a point. When making a point about a text, you can strengthen your argument by quoting or referring explicitly to specific parts of the text. Having illustrated your point, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three primary methods of using evidence in support of a point when writing about a text: by paraphrasing, by quoting single words or short phrases, or by quoting longer sections of text.

Paraphrasing is one of the most useful methods and is very often neglected. It is, however, an essential skill. Paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of the text and can be more elegant than quoting multiple words or very long passages.

When you wish to draw attention to a specific language choice, the best option is often to quote single words or short phrases. Remember that it is also possible to mix paraphrase and quotation in the same sentence. This is almost always better than writing long unwieldy sentences full of multiple quotations.

The final possibility is to quote a full sentence or more. This choice can be best when the phrase on its own makes no sense or because you would like to discuss the longer quotation in close detail.

Remember: you do not normally need to use quotation marks if you are using a single word which is not especially significant in itself. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, however, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on using evidence effectively from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

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Read the text from The Merchant of Venice and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point.
1.
"Would scatter all her spices on the stream, / Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks." - Salerio
"Scatter", "spices" and "silks" alliterate
Salerio is worried that his ships will "scatter"
Salerio talks about luxury goods such as "spices" and "silks"
Salerio's use of language, especially "spices", "enrobed" and "silk", highlights the luxurious nature of Venetian trade
Remember that single words should only have quote marks around them if they are not ordinary words or if you are discussing language use itself. Also remember that while it is good to be able to talk about the use of literary devices such as alliteration, it is essential to explain how this affects the text
2.
"Well, tell me now what lady is the same / To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage." - Antonio
Bassanio worships Portia and believes that she is holy, which is why he keeps his pilgrimage "secret"
Antonio hints that he is excited to hear the gossip about the "secret" "pilgrimage" Bassanio made to see a "lady"
By using the word "pilgrimage", Antonio implies that Bassanio worships the lady
The "secret pilgrimage" Bassanio "swore" was only a "secret" from Portia
Avoid peppering your sentences with quotes
3.
"The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark / When neither is attended." - Portia
Portia believes that "larks" only sing "sweetly" when someone is listening
Portia implies that only an audience can give value or worth to a performance
Portia hints that only an "audience" can find a crow's voice sweet
Portia argues that crows sing "sweetly"
Paraphrasing is sometimes the best option for making direct references to the text
4.
"Let not that doctor e'er come near my house / Since he hath got the jewel that I loved." - Portia
Portia refers to Bassanio as a "jewel that she loved", depicting him as a possession
Portia refers to Bassanio as a "jewel" that she loved, depicting him to a valued possession
Portia refers to Bassanio as the jewel that I loved
Bassanio is Portia's valued possession, the "jewel that she loved"
Remember that your quotes must be accurate, exactly as they are written in print
5.
"But stop my house's ears — I mean my casements." - Shylock
Shylock wishes the noise of the world would "stop"
The "casements" are "my house's ears", in Shylock's view
Shylock wishes to shut out the noisy revelry of Venice and believes he can protect his home through closing the "casements"
Shylock wishes to shut out the noisy revelry of Venice and believes he can protect his home through closing the windows
Using quotations well means making a point and supporting it with evidence. Referring to the text does not always mean using exact quotation. Paraphrasing is especially useful in an exam when it can be difficult to remember the exact quotation
6.
"We all expect a gentle answer, Jew." - The Duke
The Christians of Venice do not behave as if they expect "gentleness" from Jews
Shylock refuses to give a gentle answer even though the "Duke" "expects" one
"We all expect a gentle answer" is the Duke attempting to sound friendly
By using the word "expect", the Duke attempts to coerce Shylock
The first answer is not technically correct because the quotation marks are placed around a word which is not an exact quote
7.
"I hold the world but as the world, Graziano — / A stage where every man must play a part. / And mine a sad one." - Antonio
Antonio describes the world as a stage and his part as a sad one
Antonio says that the world is a stage where every man must play a part
Antonio describes his life as a role and the world as "a stage where every man must play a part"
Antonio describes his life as a role and the "world" as a "stage" where "every man" must play a "part"
Remember to place quotation marks around the exact words used in the text
8.
"My eye shall be the stream / And wat'ry deathbed for him." - Portia
Portia is concerned that her eye will make a stream, giving Bassanio a wat'ry deathbed
If Bassanio fails, Portia predicts she will shed enough tears to give him a wat'ry deathbed
If Bassanio fails, Portia predicts she will shed enough tears to give him a "wat'ry deathbed"
Portia is concerned that her eye will make a "stream", which will give Bassanio a "wat'ry deathbed"
Portia's statement is also a good example of hyperbole. Why might the characters in The Merchant of Venice use hyperbole when speaking of love?
9.
"Here is a letter, lady, / The paper as the body of my friend, / And every word in it a gaping wound." - Bassanio
Bassanio believes the letter is a "body"
The gaping wound refers to Antonio's "sufferings" and to his friend's sufferings on his behalf
The "gaping wound" refers to Antonio's mental sufferings, Bassanio's sufferings on his behalf and to the mortal forfeit he must pay Shylock
The gaping would refers to Antonio's mental sufferings, Bassanio's sufferings on his behalf and to the mortal forfeit he must pay Shylock
Sometimes a short phrase can be used to make several related points
10.
"By my soul I swear / There is no power in the tongue of man / To alter me." - Shylock
Shylock's reference to the "tongue of man" reminds the audience of the physical nature of his revenge
Shylock's reference to the "tongue" of man is surprising
Shylock's reference to the tongue of man is ironic because words will alter him
Shylock's assertion that the tongue of man will not alter him is revealed to be incorrect
Always be careful to quote accurately
Author:  Sheri Smith

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