Shakespeare Essay ENG 2D

Submitted By daxey
Words: 972
Pages: 4

Alysia Emmanuel
Mrs. Fedorowicz
December 19, 2013
Too Many Choices Everyday decisions are made, some minor and others major. Very large choices are made in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice that affected the outcome of the play. The choice that had framed the entire play was the lottery of the suitors choosing between three caskets to marry Portia. The tree caskets symbolised the overall themed decision making in the play: the gold casket, making decisions based on greed and appearance; the silver casket, not thinking of the consequences of the decision and making the safest decision; the lead casket, choosing the riskiest option. The first casket introduced was the gold casket. This casket represents making choices based on greed and appearance. The suitor that chose this casket was the Prince of Morocco. This Prince was guilty of making choices built on greed and appearance. This is evident in the first line spoken by him, “Mislike me not for my complexion, the shadowed livery of the burnish sun.” (2.1.1-2) The prince does not want Portia to dislike him because his skin is dark or judge his love for her on his complexion. Ironically following this Morocco choose the showiest and most valued casket, going against what he had told just Portia. His reasons for not choosing the other two caskets are directed by greed, “Or shall I think in silver she is immured. Being ten times undervalued to tried gold? Oh sinful thought never has so rich a gem was set in worse than god. (2.7.58-61) The prince chose the incorrect casket because it was worth the most, Morocco learns that appearances can be deceiving and not to make all choices based on looks and worth. Another character that made decisions similar to the Prince of Morocco was Shylock. Solario had seen Shylock in the streets yelling, “My daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter. Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!” (2.8.15-16) It is visible that Shylock cannot decide which he cares for more, the loss of his daughter to a Christian or the stolen ducats. He let his own greed blind and come between him and his daughter. With this evidence one can see that the gold casket closely relates with making choices based on greed and appearance. The next casket introduced is the silver casket. The silver casket is connected to the theme decision making by choosing the safest choice or deciding without thinking of the consequences. The suitor that chose this casket was the Prince or Arragon. Unlike Morocco, Arragon did not want to make any rash decisions, so he chose what he thought was the safest option because it was the middle in worth and unlike the men that chose gold, “I will not choose what many men desire, Because I will not jump with common spirits” (2.9.31-32) Arragon played it safe, he did not choose the gold casket because it was too flashy or the lead which was worth nothing. Unfortunately for Arragon even though the silver casket was the safest option it was not the correct casket. Later in the play Shylock made a choice without considering the consequences during the trial over his bond. Then when Shylock had later wanted to change his choice and exchange money and mercy for his bond, He was not allowed. Portia had said, “He hath refused it in the open court. He shall have merely justice and his bond.” Shylock was given the chance to take the money and give Antonio mercy, but he was too blinded by revenge to think of the law of Venice and how his choice could affect him. It can be seen that the silver casket relates to the theme making decisions without considering