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    THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Essay Summary

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    A monologue from the play by William ShakespeareMOROCCO: [Examining three caskets: one gold, one silver, one lead.]
    Some god direct my judgment! Let me see–
    I will survey th’ inscriptions back again.
    What says this leaden casket?
    ‘Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.


    Must give — for what? for lead! hazard for lead?
    This casket threatens; men that hazard all
    Do it in hope of fair advantages.
    A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
    I’ll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
    What says the silver with her virgin hue?
    ‘Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.’
    As much as he deserves? Pause there, Morocco,
    And weigh thy value with an even hand:
    If thou be’st rated by thy estimation,
    Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
    May not extend so far as to the lady;
    And yet to be afeard of my deserving
    Were but a weak disabling of myself.

    As much as I deserve? Why that’s the lady!
    I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
    In graces, and in qualities of breeding;
    But more than these, in love I do deserve.
    What if I strayed no farther, but chose here?
    Let’s see once more this saying graved in gold:
    ‘Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.’
    Why that’s the lady! All the world desires her;
    From the four corners of the earth they come
    To kiss this shrine, this mortal breathing saint.
    The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
    Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now
    For princes to come view fair Portia.

    The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
    Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
    To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
    As o’er a brook to see fair Portia.
    One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
    Is’t like that lead contains her? ‘Twere damnation
    To think so base a thought; it were too gross
    To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
    Or shall I think in silver she’s immured,
    Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
    O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
    Was set in worse than gold.

    They have in England
    A coin that bears the figure of an angel
    Stamped in gold — but that’s insculped upon;
    But here an angel in a golden bed
    Lies all within. Deliver me the key.
    Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!

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    THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Essay Summary. (2017, Dec 29). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-merchant-of-venice-40276/

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