THE MERCHANT OF VENICE : AC T 2 SCENE 9: ARRAGON’S CHOICE

English Literature : Grade 10

The second suitor is the Prince of Arragon whose entrance unlike Morocco’s is not pre-empted by any comments from Portia. His arrogance and pride are shown through his choice of casket and his reaction to choosing the wrong casket. He comments on the inscription of gold casket, ‘…I will not jump with common spirits/And rank me with barbarous multitudes.’ (Act II Scene ix)

and thinking gold was too common for him he arrogantly discards it. He does not even stop to contemplate the lead casket saying only that it would have to look more attractive for him to hazard anything for it. The silver casket is the one that appeals to him the most because he feels that no one deserving should go unmerited. His arrogance leads him to assume that he is worthy of Portia. Before he opens the casket he says, ‘I will assume dessert…’ . His reaction when he finds that he was unsuccessful also highlights his arrogance because he is so incredulous and can not believe this is happening to him,
‘Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head? / Is that my prize? Are my desserts no better?’ (Act II Scene ix).

He is so crestfallen that one could feel sympathy for him. But he graciously accepts his fate and makes a dignified exit,
‘I’ll keep my oath, /Patiently to bear my wroth.’ (Act ii Scene ix).

His choice indicates that Arragon represents love controlled by intellect because from his viewpoint choosing the silver casket was the obvious and right choice. He was blind to his own pride

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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE:ARRAGON’S CHOICE ACT 2 SCENE 9

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