Synopsis of Act 2 Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice Act 2 (Scene 9) Plot Summary with Word Meanings

The second of the Casket scene reveals Prince Arragon making the choice. The rituals of the selection start. Portia tells about the rules of the game. The Prince quickly rejects the lead casket. It is not worthy or beautiful enough to risk everything. He rejects the gold one also, as choosing what many desire will put him at the same level as the common ones, He, finally chooses the silver casket as the inscription appeals to him. He does not like to get anything without deserving, and the inscription on the casket says, 'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.' He is sure that he's full of merit, and therefore deserves the prize of Portia's hand.

When he opens the casket, much to his horror, he finds a portrait of a blinking idiot. He reads the message, which says, 'There be fools alive, iwis' silver'd over, and so was this. 'He then departs with his followers. Portia is happy. She tells Nerissa that even fools choose deliberately, thinking that they are wise in their decision; but their deliberate decision finally defeats them. After the departure of Arragon, a messenger comes to inform them that a handsome Venetian young man has arrived with rich gifts to her. Portia, weary of all unsuccessful suitors, thinks of Bassanio. She is eager to see the newcomer because he appears to be decent. Nerissa wishes the young man turns out to be Bassanio. The servants comment, 'A day in April never came so sweet to show how costly summer was at hand', anticipates the fulfillment of Nerissa's wish.


straight - at once,
election - choice,
contain'd - enclosed,
nuptial rites - marriage ceremony,
solemniz'd - performed,
enjoin'd - bound,
unfold - disclose,
injunctions - conditions,
hazard - gamble,
fool multitude – foolish, commoners,
fond - foolish,
pries not th' interior - does not look more cautiously into the deeper meaning,
martlet - house martin that foolishly build nest in open air,
casualty - danger,
cozen - untrustworthy,
wearer - who have the merits,
stand bare - with head uncovered,
peasantry - commoners,
gleaned - separated, seeds - sons,
chaff – unwanted,
new varnish'd - newly painted,
deserts - deserving,
choose amiss - choose wrong,
shadows kiss - embrace illusions,
linger - remain,
wroth - misfortune,
sing'd - burnt,
deliberate - think but make wrong decisions,
wiving- getting a wife,
alighted - dismounted,
signify - announce,
regrets - greetings,
schedule - scroll,
offices - functions,
commends - compliments,
breath - words,
likely - pleasing in appearance,
high day-wit - holiday humour,
anon - presently,
Cupid - god of Love,
mannerly - courteous

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