Merchant of Venice

How did the Prince of morocco judge the inscription on the leaden casket

The leaden casket

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The Prince reads the inscriptions on all the caskets. Gold reads: "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire" (2.7.5). The silver casket has, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves" (2.7.7). Finally, the dull lead casket bears the inscription, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath" (2.7.9).

The Prince looks over all the inscriptions a second time, and decides that lead is too threatening and not worth risking anything for. He also spurns the silver, which he feels is too base a metal to hold such a beautiful woman as Portia. The Prince therefore chooses gold. Portia hands him the key, and he opens the casket to reveal a golden skull. The skull holds a written scroll that poetically indicates that he chose superficially. The Prince departs after a hasty farewell. Portia watches him go, and remarks, "A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go. / Let all of his complexion choose me so" (2.7.78-79).