In Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare brings two people together in love, Portia and Bassanio. Portia and Bassanio are alike by their love, their own friendship, and the caskets that brought them together. “But when this ring Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence: O, then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead!” (II, ii). Bassanio and Portia are madly in love with each other, and you can tell by what they say. William Shakespeare proves this.
Comparing Portia and Bassanio as lovers is rather simple. Portia and Bassanio were destined. All of the suitors that tried to marry and court Portia all failed because they were egotistic bastards that only thought of themselves and their rewards. “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire, why that’s the lady, all the world desires her” (II, vii). The Prince of Morocco totally interpreted that the wrong way. Many men desire wealth, and valuables, and everything. He did not deserve her, and Portia knew that. She is intelligent and set the suitors up for immense disappointment. So she could receive Bassanio, her love. Bassanio and Portia are perfect for one another. In love, because their hearts think alike. “As doubtful whether what I see be true, until I confirmed, signed, ratified by you” (III, ii). Bassanio loves Portia so much, that he would give himself to her. The other suitors only thought of themselves and their rewards. Portia may be a bit tricky when it comes to choosing a husband, but she only knew what she wanted, and worked hard to get it, and got it. Bassanio, her prize. “I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy praise” (I, ii). Portia is comparing and contrasting all of the suitors she has to choose from, and she explains them all. Nerissa brings up Bassanio, and right away, Portia knew that he was the one. She says that he worthy enough to have her, to own her. He is the only one that she thinks is worthy of her. So she knows inside that he will pick the lead casket because he loves her and not possessions. He picked right. Now they are joined in love. “Madam, you have left me of all words, and only my blood speaks to you in my veins” (III, ii).
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Friendship. Usually, a key term when it comes to love and relationships. But not when it comes to Merchant of Venice. Portia picks a suitor to be her husband before she is even acquainted with them. Bassanio and Portia are well off friends after they wed, but not before. Which shows that there is love in life without friendship first. Portia though really had no choice. Her father had died, and this is how he chose for her to get a husband. It worked out pretty great for Portia though. “But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that already come?” (II, ii). Nerissa is stating a very true fact. Does Portia know any of these suitors? What affection and love does she have towards them if she does not know them? Can you possibly love someone you don’t know? Yes. Portia loves Bassanio. They are in true love. Mainly because they were meant to be, and there are numerous times in the play that foreshadows this. Portia and Bassanio may have felt love, though they might not have been in true love. Later on in the story, you know that Portia and Bassanio are in love and they are friends, also. Their true friendship comes after their marriage in the play. In real life, friendship takes place before marriage usually, so people can get to know one another, but Portia had no choice. She fell in love with Bassanio, and their friendship developed onward.
Three suitors came in search to wed Portia. All wanting to have her. Portia’s father, before he died, decided he would have three caskets, one gold, one silver, and one lead. The one with Portia’s picture in it is the winning casket. The first two suitors, drowning in their own love for themselves, try the fold and silver caskets. And fail, of course. Then Bassanio comes along. Portia loves Bassanio. She gives him numerous hints, such as a song, and a rhyme. Bassanio loves Portia with his heart, and is not just looking for a maiden, so he picks the lead casket, willing to do anything for her. “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath” (II, viii). Bassanio thinks of how much he loves Portia, and decides if giving up everything would be worth her. Because they were meant to be, of course. He chooses the lead casket. Portia uses precision to get Bassanio to choose the casket. She knew they were meant to be, so she gave him helpful hints, and he used them. Portia and Bassanio are both like lead caskets, in a way. They would give up possessions, and everything, just for love. “You choose not by the view, chance as fair, and choose as true! Since this fortune falls to you, Be content and seek no view. If you be well pleased with this And hold your fortune for your bliss, Turn you where your lady is, and claim her with a loving kiss” (III, ii). That is the scroll that Bassanio received when he picked the winning lead casket with fair Portia’s portrait inside, waiting for him. “There is no vice so simple but assumes some mark of virtue on his outward parts” (III, ii). Bassanio is saying that choosing the lead casket is so simple. Giving up all he hath for a woman he loves? Simple.
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