Merchant Of Venice: Who Would Pick The Lead Casket?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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Merchant of Venice: Who Would Pick the Lead Casket? The inscription upon the lead casket reads as follows: Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath'. In the story itself, Bassanio made the correct decision and picked the lead casket, allowing him to marry Portia. However, he may not have been the only fitting person for its description.

Bassanio was a neutral player in most parts of this book. He was a decent man, kind to most and somewhat impatient with others. He wasn't the most giving soul (though this description may not be valid; he didn't have anything to give) but he was certainly not greedy. Bassanio was quite a brave and noble man: in times of stress and danger, he stuck up for his friend Antonio. He did show some selfish nature by asking Antonio to perform the Ducat trade, but he canceled this out by offering to repay his partner with double the originally specified amount.

Shylock is quite a greedy fellow with strict morals and a bad temper. From the Ducat deal between him and Antonio, one can see how selfishly Shylock handles his wealth. He was not only hesitant to trade with Antonio, but he demanded some sort of profit on his part. Unlike many of the other traders in Venice, Shylock would charge interest in his loans. When Antonio argued paying interest, Shylock grudgingly accepted after agreeing to take a pound of Antonio's flesh if the money wasn't properly returned. The casket's description did not match Shylock's tendencies in any way, therefore eliminating the possibility of Shylock to choose the lead chest.

I think that Antonio was truly the best one for the Lead chest, as he was a kind and generous individual. He did not complain,