True Love in The Merchant of Venice

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True Love in The Merchant of Venice

Among the various themes presented in the Merchant of Venice the

most important is the nature of true love. The casket plot helps

illustrate the theme. Through a variety of suitors the descriptions of the

caskets, Shakespeare shows the reader how different people view true love.

He also shows what is most important to the suitors and in some cases it is

not true love, but material things and outward appearance.

The first suitor who tries to win Portia's hand is the Prince of

Morocco. When he first arrives in Belmont, the reader can see how arrogant

the prince is, He says, "The best regarded virgins of our clilme/ hath

loved it too..." (2.1, 10-11). He is referring to the color of his ski n

that is black. He is telling Portia that his complexion has won him many

women and he is dressed in all white. The fact that he is, suggests that

he is only concerned with outward appearance, and not with more important

things such as true love. The Prince of Morocco's superficial nature

shines through even more clearly when it comes time to choose the casket.

He does not want to risk anything, and therefore; he does not choose the

lead casket whose inscription tells the suitor he must give up everything.

The Prince, after looking at the inscription of the gold casket, which read

"'who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire'" (2.7, 37), decides that

what he desires most is the Portia's hand so the gold must be the correct

casket. He insists that the gold casket is the one holding Portia's

picture because she is so much worthier than the lead casket. The Prince

believes t...

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...ove,

however, is for Bassanio and she wants to marry him. Bassanio, by choosing

to risk everything he has, shows the effects that true love can have on

someone. True love can conquer any fears or apprehensions you may have.

He was willing to risk everything he had in order to show his love for

Portia. In the play, Bassanio shows what true love really means and how

one can not mistake outward appearances for true love. Put succinctly, one

can do nothing but agree with the adage love conquers all.

Works Cited and Consulted

Barnet Sylvan. "Introduction." The Merchant of Venice Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New

Jersey : Prentice-Hall Inc., 1970. 1-10.

Granville-Barker, Harley. "The Merchant of Venice. " Shakespeare Ed.

Leonard F. Dean. Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1947. 37-71.
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