Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Summary

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Summary, Merchant of Venice Workbook Answers

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Summary

Setting : Belmont
Characters : Portia, the Prince of Arragon

This scene is an extension of the casket story. Here we find the Prince of Arragon trying his luck. Portia tells him that if he succeeds in choosing the casket with her picture, she will marry him at once. If he chooses the wrong casket he will have to leave at once without uttering a word. The Prince says that he remembers the three conditions well : that he is not to disclose what choice he has made, that he is not to marry if he chooses the wrong casket, and that he is to leave Belmont at once. Portia tells him that every suitor of hers is obliged to observe these three conditions if he is to try his luck.

The Prince of Arragon rejects the lead casket as he does not want to risk his all for the worthless metal. He, then, reads the inscription on the gold casket.

He thinks that what many men desire to possess may not be desired by him because he does not want to rank himself with the common people. He, then, turns to the silver casket, and reads the inscription which says, “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves”. The inscription appeals to him because he thinks that he deserves the hand of Portia in marriage.

He, then, moralises over the corruption in the world. He says that the most undeserving people occupy high positions whereas the most deserving people act as their subordinates. He, then, selects the silver casket. When he opens it, he finds in it the portrait of a blinking idiot presenting a scroll in which it is written that those who do not think carefully before taking any step in any matter are fooled in life. In the same way, the Prince of Arragon has been fooled.

He, then, thinks that it was foolish on his part to have come to Belmont and try his luck by the caskets. Then he made a fool of himself by choosing a wrong casket. So he, at once, leaves the place. Portia remarks that he has been burnt in the flames like a moth and that she is glad that he has chosen the wrong casket. Nerissa remarks that death and marriage depend on destiny.

At that moment a servant arrives to inform that a messenger has come with greetings and presents. Portia tells Nerissa that she is eager to meet the suitor because he appears to possess decent manners. Nerissa wishes that this suitor may turn out to be Lord Bassanio.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Critical Commentary

We are again taken to Portia’s house in Belmont. The Prince of Arragon makes his choice of the casket. Like the Prince of Morocco, he, too, does not attach any importance to the leaden casket. He, then, examines the golden casket and rejects it too. He selects the silver casket and therein he finds the portrait of .a blinking idiot. So he, too, fails to choose the right casket. So Morocco and Arragon leave the place. It appears that Shakespeare clears the pitch for Bassanio who will soon try his luck.

Significance of the Scene

  1. This scene is an extension of the casket story.
  2. The Prince of Arragon fails because of his superiority complex.
  3. While Morocco has suffered from vanity, Arragon suffers from self-conceit.

Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9 Glossary

Lines 1-25
election : choice
enjoin’d : bound
injunctions : conditions
address’d : agreed
multitude : majority
fond : foolish

Lines 26-50
martlet : a bird
title : message
chaff : rubbish

Lines 51-75
pause : halt
blinking : winking
schedule : scroll
offices : duties
amiss : wrong
iws : certainly
sped : over

Lines 76-100
wroth : anger
singed : burned
heresy : rumour
alighted : come
signify : announce
regreets : greetings
courteous breath : words of courtesy
likely : promising
costly : rich
high-day : holiday
post : messenger

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