Act 2, Scene 9 Notes from Merchant of Venice

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Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scene 9

The scene begins in Portia's Belmont home. Nerissa enters with a Servitor, and announces that they must prepare, the Prince of Aragon will be arriving to take the test. After a cornet flourish, the Prince, Portia, and their trains enter. Portia reminds the Prince of the rules of the chests, that if he were to pick incorrectly, he must leave and never speak of it again, abandoning his pursuit of Portia.

The Prince agrees to the terms, and then considers which chest he should select.. He dismisses the lead chest out of hand, and decides that the 'many men' who desire what's in the gold chest might well be fools. He thinks that the idea of being given what you deserve is the noblest idea. He believes that no one should pretend to be something that they aren't, and that all should be raised or lowered to the position in life that they truly deserve. He picks the Silver chest, opens it, and finds another skull with a scroll in the eye. The scroll tells him that he's made the wrong decision. He leaves with his train, agreeing to never return.

Portia laments how foolish all of her suitors are, trying to over think the puzzle. Nerissa agrees: "The ancient saying is no heresy, hanging and wiving goes by destiny." Act 2, Scene 9, lines 82-3. A servant enters, to announce that another messenger has arrived, in advance of his Venetian master. The servant is excessively happy about the messenger, making Portia suspicious. Nerissa hopes that the suitor will turn out to be Bassanio.

Topic Tracking: Love 6
Topic Tracking: Fortune 5

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