List iconThe Merchant of Venice:
Act 2, scene 7
List icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 2, scene 7



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court…

Act 1, scene 1

Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has invested all his wealth in trading expeditions. Bassanio, his friend and kinsman, asks him for…

Act 1, scene 2

At Portia’s estate of Belmont, Portia and Nerissa talk over Portia’s frustration at being unable to choose her own husband….

Act 1, scene 3

In Venice Bassanio goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow, in Antonio’s name, 3,000 ducats. Shylock hates Antonio but…

Act 2, scene 1

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco greets Portia, who tells him the terms of the contest: if he chooses the…

Act 2, scene 2

In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of…

Act 2, scene 3

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, says good-bye to Lancelet and gives him a letter for Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio. In a…

Act 2, scene 4

Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solanio, and Salarino try to arrange a masque for Bassanio’s dinner that night. Lancelet brings Lorenzo Jessica’s letter…

Act 2, scene 5

Lancelet brings Shylock an invitation to dinner at Bassanio’s. Shylock grudgingly accepts and commands Jessica to guard their house carefully….

Act 2, scene 6

Gratiano and Salarino wait for Lorenzo near Shylock’s house. As soon as Lorenzo arrives, he calls Jessica, who throws him…

Act 2, scene 7

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one…

Act 2, scene 8

In Venice Solanio and Salarino discuss the latest news: Shylock’s torment over the loss of his daughter and the treasures…

Act 2, scene 9

At Belmont the Prince of Arragon attempts to win Portia by choosing the silver chest, but finds in it the…

Act 3, scene 1

In Venice Solanio and Salarino have learned that the Italian ship wrecked in the English Channel was Antonio’s. Shylock enters…

Act 3, scene 2

Portia advises Bassanio to postpone choosing for fear he should make the wrong choice. Bassanio declares himself unable to live…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio seeks out Shylock in an effort to get the moneylender to listen to him. But Shylock insists that the…

Act 3, scene 4

Portia entrusts the management of her household to Lorenzo and pretends to leave with Nerissa for a house of an…

Act 3, scene 5

Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.

Act 4, scene 1

In court at Venice, Shylock demands that the terms of his bond be fulfilled. Portia enters as a doctor of…

Act 4, scene 2

Gratiano gives the disguised Portia Bassanio’s ring. Nerissa decides to try to obtain from Gratiano the ring that she had…

Act 5, scene 1

Portia and Nerissa return to Belmont. When Bassanio and Gratiano also return, bringing Antonio with them, Portia and Nerissa “discover”…

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Scene 7
Enter Portia with the Prince of Morocco and both
their trains.

 Go, draw aside the curtains and discover

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 2. SC. 7

 The several caskets to this noble prince.
A curtain is drawn.
 Now make your choice.
 This first, of gold, who this inscription bears,
5 “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
 The second, silver, which this promise carries,
 “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
10 This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,
 “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
 How shall I know if I do choose the right?
 The one of them contains my picture, prince.
15 If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
 Some god direct my judgment! Let me see.
 I will survey th’ inscriptions back again.
 What says this leaden casket?
 “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
20 hath.”
 Must give—for what? For lead? Hazard for lead?
 This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
 Do it in hope of fair advantages.
 A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross.
25 I’ll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
 What says the silver with her virgin hue?
 “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
 As much as he deserves—pause there, Morocco,
30 And weigh thy value with an even hand.
 If thou beest rated by thy estimation,
 Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
 May not extend so far as to the lady.

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 2. SC. 7

 And yet to be afeard of my deserving
35 Were but a weak disabling of myself.
 As much as I deserve—why, that’s the lady!
 I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
 In graces, and in qualities of breeding,
 But more than these, in love I do deserve.
40 What if I strayed no farther, but chose here?
 Let’s see once more this saying graved in gold:
 “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
 Why, that’s the lady! All the world desires her.
45 From the four corners of the Earth they come
 To kiss this shrine, this mortal, breathing saint.
 The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
 Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
 For princes to come view fair Portia.
50 The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
 Spets in the face of heaven, is no bar
 To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
 As o’er a brook to see fair Portia.
 One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
55 Is ’t like that lead contains her? ’Twere damnation
 To think so base a thought. It were too gross
 To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
 Or shall I think in silver she’s immured,
 Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
60 O, sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
 Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
 A coin that bears the figure of an angel
 Stamped in gold, but that’s insculped upon;
 But here an angel in a golden bed
65 Lies all within.—Deliver me the key.
 Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may.
 There, take it, prince. Handing him the key. And if
 my form lie there,
 Then I am yours.
The Merchant of Venice
ACT 2. SC. 8

Morocco opens the gold casket.
MOROCCO 70 O hell! What have we here?
 A carrion death within whose empty eye
 There is a written scroll. I’ll read the writing:
 All that glisters is not gold—
 Often have you heard that told.
75 Many a man his life hath sold
 But my outside to behold.
 Gilded tombs do worms infold.
 Had you been as wise as bold,
 Young in limbs, in judgment old,
80 Your answer had not been enscrolled.
 Fare you well, your suit is cold.

 Cold indeed and labor lost!
 Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost.
 Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
85 To take a tedious leave. Thus losers part.
He exits, with his train.
 A gentle riddance! Draw the curtains, go.
 Let all of his complexion choose me so.
They exit.