In Act 2, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice, from the lines, "Mislike me not for my complexion, The shadow'd livery of the burnished sun, ...except to steal your thoughts; my gentle queen", how...

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The fate of Portia and her ability to choose a husband have been seriously hampered by her late father's will, in The Merchant of Venice. Portia's father left instructions and Portia, who is very independent, feels "curbed by the will of a dead father."(I.ii.21)

There are various suitors anxious to select correctly from the caskets and win Portia's hand in marriage. The Prince of Morocco worries that Portia may dislike him from the start because of his "complexion" and wants to assure her that he is virtuous and honorable and, in fact, "this aspect of mine," being his dark skin, has appealed to many. Morocco would even prove his worth against any northern suitor who may even come from a region where "fire scarcely thaws the icicles" and challenge him in order to "prove whose blood is reddest." So Morocco is prepared to meet any challenge in order to win Portia's heart.   

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