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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.

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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. "The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark / When neither is attended." - Portia
    Paraphrasing is sometimes the best option for making direct references to the text
  2. "Well, tell me now what lady is the same / To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage." - Antonio
    Avoid peppering your sentences with quotes
  3. "Here is a letter, lady, / The paper as the body of my friend, / And every word in it a gaping wound." - Bassanio
    Sometimes a short phrase can be used to make several related points
  4. "But stop my house's ears — I mean my casements." - Shylock
    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
  5. "Let not that doctor e'er come near my house / Since he hath got the jewel that I loved." - Portia
    Remember that your quotes must be accurate, exactly as they are written in print
  6. "We all expect a gentle answer, Jew." - The Duke
    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
    Remember to place quotation marks around the exact words used in the text
  8. "Would scatter all her spices on the stream, / Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks." - Salerio
    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
  9. "My eye shall be the stream / And wat'ry deathbed for him." - Portia
    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?
  10. "By my soul I swear / There is no power in the tongue of man / To alter me." - Shylock
    Always be careful to quote accurately

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