Merchant of Venice

Examine the end rhymes of Portia's song as well as the images it includes. How might these be construed as hints?

Act 3 Scene 2

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Bassanio's choosing from the caskets has also generated controversy. Portia first begs Bassanio to wait at least a month, hoping to spend time with him before he chooses among the caskets. When he refuses to wait, she plays music for him. Some scholars have noted that each of the rhymes of the song rhyme with lead, thus providing a subconscious hint. What is interesting is that Bassanio differs from the other suitors in not reading the inscriptions. Thus he is forced to choose with his eyes alone, saying, "Therefore, thou gaudy gold, / hard food for Midas, I will none of thee. / Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge / Tween man and man" (3.2.100-103). He refers to the fact that gold denotes greed, and thus is worthless as it was for Midas who could not even eat his food because it turned to gold on him.