Merchant of Venice Speech Analysis Essay

1158 Words Mar 6th, 2006 5 Pages
In this scene, Bassanio is at Portia's house, and he is trying to choose the casket with Portia's picture in it. If he chooses the right casket, he will get to marry Portia and gain all of her wealth as well. In the beginning of his speech, Bassanio is reacting to the song that is being sung by one of Portia's servants. As he gives his speech, we are captivated by his many metaphors and by the suspense of his words. The entire time he is speaking, we wonder which casket he will ultimately choose. Before this scene, Portia explained that in her father's will, he set her marriage up in a way that men from all over the world will have to travel to Portia's estate. The men would then have to choose between three caskets and if one …show more content…
He is also comparing religion to his current situation, and he is basically saying that Portia's father is a "damned error" because he set up this situation of having to choose a casket and making it look good instead of just being able to marry Portia. In the next two lines, Bassanio says, "There is no vice so simple but assumes // Some mark of virtue on his outward parts." He is saying that there is no form of pure corruption without some deception of "virtue" on the outside. In the next six lines, Bassanio says, "How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false // As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins // The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars // Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk // And these assume but valour's excrement // To render them redoubted." Bassanio is comparing cowards' hearts to "stairs of sand," which are weak and unstable. However, these cowards still have the audacity to compare themselves to Hercules and Mars. Bassanio then brings up "livers white as milk," and back then, white livers were thought to be the sign of a coward. In the last two lines of this section, Bassanio is saying that cowards only pretend to be brave so that they can get respect in return. Continuing from the last line to the next three lines, Bassanio says,
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