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Scenes 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9

Scene 2.7 - Belmont

In Belmont, Portia and the Prince of Morocco enter the room for the lottery. The curtains are pulled back and the caskets are revealed. Morocco, before choosing, describes the caskets, each of which has a message written on it. The first is made of gold, and is inscribed: "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire." The second is silver, and reads: "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves." The third, made of lead, says: "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath." Portia instructs Morocco that one of them contains her picture, and if he chooses it, he may marry her. Morocco examines the caskets again. The leaden one, which asks him to "hazard," seems threatening, and the poor metal is a poor choice for what he calls his "golden mind." The silver one tells him he'll have what he deserves, and he wonders whether or not he deserves Portia, which he thinks he does. Finally, he looks at the golden casket, which promises "what many men desire." Morocco concludes that that's Portia - men travel the world to come and try to woo her, and that gold is the only metal that's worthy of containing Portia's picture.
The Prince chooses the golden casket. On opening it, he sees a skull, with a scroll in its empty eye. He reads it aloud, and it instructs him with the proverb that "all that glisters is not gold" - he has been foolish enough to expect what is beautiful outside to be beautiful inside. Morocco leaves, defeated. Portia says she hopes that all suitors of his complexion (Morocco is dark-skinned) choose as he has.

Scene 2.8 - Venice

Salerio enters with Solanio, and remarks that Bassanio has left with Graziano for Belmont, and isn't sure if Lorenzo is with them. Shylock has found out what has happened, and he searched the ship for Lorenzo and Jessica. Salerio remarks that he didn't find them there - Lorenzo and Jessica escaped together in a gondola. Salerio describes how Shylock, in a confused anger, was seen shouting in the streets: "Justice! The law! My ducats and my daughter!" and was mocked by boys who followed him. Antonio still is indebted to Shylock, and his ships are reported to be in danger - his friends fear for his safety. Salerio notes that Bassanio too was worried, but that Antonio instructed him to enjoy himself, and not to worry about him, and cried as he said goodbye to him. The two friends go to find Antonio.

Scene 2.9 - Belmont

In Belmont, another of Portia's suitors, the Prince of Aragon, is about to try the lottery. The curtain is drawn again, revealing the three caskets. Aragon recites the promise he has made: if he chooses wrongly, he is never to reveal which casket he has chosen, and has to leave immediately and never ask to marry Portia again. He decides against the golden casket - what "many" men want could only be common and popular. He turns to the silver casket, which promises as much as he deserves, and remarks that only a great man will choose this casket, since only he will think himself good enough to deserve Portia.
Aragon chooses the silver casket. Inside, he finds a fool's head, with a scroll, suggesting that he is a fool for presuming to deserve Portia. Aragon exits, and Portia remarks on the stupidity of her suitors. A messenger enters, announcing that a Venetian has just arrived in Belmont, and that his charming servant has praised his master and offered rich gifts for their household. Portia says she doubts her messenger's praise, and leaves with Nerissa, who says she hopes that it is Bassanio who has arrived.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scene 1.1
Scenes 1.2 and 1.3
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scenes 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9
Scenes 3.1 and 3.2
Scenes 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5
Scenes 4.1 and 4.2
Scene 5.1


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