1. Do you think the Bishop was justified in selling the silver salt-cellars?
Ans. To the Bishop, it was a burden to possess any material thing, and be attached to it if there was someone in deep pain, suffering because of the lack of money or any other reasons. He sold his silver salt-cellars to pay for the rent of Mere Gringoire’s house. She was sick and bedridden and not in a condition to work. If the rent was not paid, the bailiff would not wait any longer and threaten to turn her out of the house that day itself. One can imagine how miserable would it be for her then. In such a situation I think, the Bishop was justified in selling the silver salt-cellars.
2. How does the Bishop prove that human body is the temple of the living God. Does he succeed?
Ans. When the convict had entered the Bishop’s house, he was a criminal with no feeling for humanity — he was more of a beast than a man. But by the time he left him, the Bishop had shown him with his loving, forgiving, helping and compassionate attitude that human body is a temple of the living God. The Bishop knew well that the convict was not born that way, but certain circumstances had changed him into doing evil deeds. By helping the convict to give vent to his sufferings and by protecting him from the police, the Bishop has touched the convict’s heart to such an extent after many years that he realises that he is a ‘human being’ and not a ‘beast’ as he had started thinking himself to be. The convict understands clearly what Bishop meant by saying that human body is the temple of the living God.
3. The Bishop is a living example of the greatest tenet of Christianity—forgiveness. Justify this statement by giving evidence from the text. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]
Ans. It is true that the Bishop is really a living example of the greatest tenet of Christianity —
forgiveness. This is evident from the incident of the stealing of candlesticks. Inspite of all the love and care that the Bishop had shown to the convict, when he left, he stole the Bishop’s precious candlesticks. However, he was caught by the police who brought him to the Bishop’s house. Instead of getting angry or getting the convict imprisoned, the Bishop told the police that the convict was not a thief but his friend whom he had given the candlesticks himself. He also told the police to let the convict go. Not only this, when the convict who was so touched by Bishop’s actions, decided to go to Paris to start a new life, the Bishop gave him his candlesticks, which were his mother’s gift to him and thus very precious. The Bishop blessed the convict and asked him to sell the candlesticks and start a new life in Paris. This was so touching and unbelievable for the convict that he cried and all the burden of sufferings of the past years just disappeared then and there.
4. Why does the Bishop allow the convict to take away the candlesticks and escape to Paris?
Ans. When the convict told the Bishop that he wanted to go to Paris as it was a big place and the police would not easily recognise him there, the Bishop supported him. He wanted the convict to sell the candlesticks and start his life all over again in Paris. He told the convict that in each person’s body, there is the temple of the living God. The Bishop did all this because he sincerely wanted the convict to be a good human being and lead a normal life by giving up all the sufferings of his past.
5. Identify the incidents which changed the convict’s life. Do you think the convict should be treated the way the Bishop treated him to reform?
[CBSE 2010 (Term II)]
Ans. The convict was a good man originally. Once, when he did not have any job and his wife was ill and he
did not have any money to get even food for her, he stole some money to buy food for her. He was caught by the police and given ten years’ imprisonment for such a minor theft. A tragedy occurred in his life with the death of his wife on the day he was awarded ten years’ imprisonment. In the prison he was fed on filth, lashed and tortured if he questioned even a little bit. All this changed his life completely and he turned from a man to a wild beast. He lost faith in himself as well as others completely.
The way Bishop treated the convict is absolutely marvellous in my opinion. This is a clear evidence to the falseness of the belief that criminals can be changed through punishment. Although it may not seem to be a very practical thing, but is undoubtedly correct that true love and compassion of the Bishop only reformed the convict, preventing him from committing crimes further, making life hell for himself as well as others. So, I’m sure that the convict should be treated the way the Bishop treated him to reform.
6. As Bishop, write an entry in your journal regarding the change that has come about in the convict. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]
Imagine yourself as Bishop and write a diary entry expressing your feeling after the convict has left as a free man [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]
I feel extremely sorry for so much suffering in this world. A few days back, I had an encounter with a convict who had entered my house, and threatened me with a knife. He asked me for food. I fed him with all my love, and that gave me a lot of satisfaction. Anyway, he stole my candlesticks when he left but the police caught him and brought him back to me for identification. I genuinely wanted to relieve him of his sufferings and so asked the police to let him go telling them that he was actually my friend, and that I had gifted the candlesticks to him. The convict seemed to be quite shocked at this. The faith and favour, he felt I had shown in him, brought so much confidence in him that he decided to lead a normal life. I feel happy seeing that he wanted to go to Paris, a big city, where he could begin a new life without any fear of being identified by the police. Before leaving, he asked me to bless him. When I prayed for him, he literally started crying. I am so happy for the change that has come in him.
7. Justify the title of the play ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’.
Ans. ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’ is the most appropriate title for the drama, as it was the candlesticks which became the focal point and occupy a very important place — both for the Bishop as well as the convict. For the
Bishop, they were very precious because they had been given to him by his mother when she was on her deathbed. The Bishop was a saintly person and was ready to give away any of his belongings for the welfare of others, except these candlesticks as his mother’s memories were associated with them.
But when he saw that the convict had stolen away his candlesticks, he felt terribly bad. His emotions were deeply hurt. Fortunately, he got the candlesticks back when the police caught the convict and brought him to the Bishop for identification. Finally, when the convict got reformed, and decided to go to Paris to start a new life, the Bishop gave to him as a help, the most precious thing of his life— the candlesticks! The drama is deeply associated with the emotions attached with the candlesticks, and thus I feel the title ‘Bishop’s Candlesticks’ is quite appropriate.
8. Suppose you are the convict in the play ‘The Bishop’s’ Candlesticks’. After going to Paris you sell the silver candlesticks given by the good Bishop and start a business. Very soon you begin to prosper. Write a letter in about 120 words to friend expressing your gratitude for the Bishop. [CBSE 2011 (Term II)]
9.The Bishop heals the tormented soul and shows him the path of God and righteousness. Comment. (150 words) [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]
You must be surprised as to how I am writing a letter to you after so many years. You already know what upheavals I have undergone in my life. Here I am going to tell you about a very special person, the Bishop, who has changed my life completely.
His love, care and guidance has just relieved me of all my sufferings. I, who had started thinking that the whole world just consists of bad people, have a completely different viewpoint now. It so happened that one day I entered his house for food, threatened him, but instead of being afraid or angry, he not only gave me food lovingly but also a warm bed to sleep on. As was my habit, I stole his candlesticks and ran away. But when the police caught me and got me back to his place, he asked the police to let me go, telling them that I was his friend and he had gifted the candlesticks to me. Do you know how shocked I was at this? Later he gave me his candlesticks and asked me to go to Paris, sell them and start a new life. It is unbelievable that such people live on this earth! He is like God to me. The faith he has shown in me has enabled me to turn back into a normal man from the wild beast that I had become. That’s all for now. See you then.
Your friend XYZ
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