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The Merchant Of Venice Essay

756 words - 3 pages

Appearances and Decisions ''Don't judge a book by its cover'' is a famous phrase everyone has heard. In the play, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare clearly states that outer appearances aren't important throughout many scenes in the play. The inner qualities such as honesty, charity, and kindness are more important. Portia, a beautiful woman, hopes to find a husband ,but she must fulfill her father's will. He designs a lottery of three caskets which involves a test of character. The three caskets are gold, silver, and lead. The three suitors that come to to win Portia's hand in marriage and thus use or don't use appearances in their judgements are the Prince of Moracco, the Prince of Arragon, and Bassanio. First, the most obvious character obsessed with looks is the Prince of Moracco. He is the first suitor to see the caskets. The first comment he makes to Portia is about his physical appearance. He tells Portia not to ''Mislike me for my complexion...''(II,i,1). He does not want Portia to dislike him for his skin tone. He is aware of of the color of his skin and thinks other people may not like it. When he is choosing the caskets, he reads the passage of each. The gold casket reads ''Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.''(II,vii,36). He mistakes the meaning and thinks it means that Portia is what all men desire. He also says that ''Never so rich a gem Was set in worse than gold.''(II,vii,54-55). Portia is so beautiful that he thinks her father would not have put her portrait in anything less than gold. He glances at the silver casket but says that gold is ten times as better. He barely looks at lead because it is so ''....dull...''(VII,ii,8). He chooses gold and loses. The casket reveals a skull with a scroll that says, ''All that glisters is not gold...''(VII,ii,65) which means he should not pick the casket because of its looks. Everything that is pretty might not be like that on the interior. The...

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