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Word Count: 761
The Sly Side of Portia In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare presents the theme looks can be deceiving This is seen in the character of Portia She portrays herself as a pleasant person when it comes to Bassanio but is deceitful and mean when it comes to her suitors She also disguises herself as Balthazar a young doctor who is to judge in the courtroom of Shylock and Antonio Once again we see her cunning ways towards the end of the play when she taunts Bassanio about the ring that she had given him earlier because it is missing Portias shrewd and dishonest ways show how looks can be deceiving Portia is left without a suitor at the death of her father However he has designed a means of judgement by leaving three caskets from which a suitor must choose gold silver and lead The correct casket contains a picture of Portia If the wrong casket is chosen then that suitor must never pursue another woman concerning the subject of marriage Portia views her suitors as Oh these deliberate fools When they do choose they have the wisdom by their wit to lose Shakespeare 39 She says that the Prince of Morocco is A gentle riddance I curtains go Let all of his complexion choose me so Shakespeare 34 This shows not only harsh criticism but also her prejudices against color When Bassanio comes in however Portia responds in an entirely new and opposite manner She asks Bassanio to wait a while telling him Before you hazard for in choosing wrong I lose your company Shakespeare 44 Bassanio chooses the right casket and Portia promises all her possessions to be equally his - on one condition She gives him a ring saying Which when you part from lose or give away let it presage the ruin of your love Shakespeare 50 This is but a trap for Bassanio Thus Portias sly side begins
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