In Act 3 Scene 2, from the extract, " Now he goes, with no less presence, but with much more love, than young Alcides, ...............Go Hercules! Why does Portia say " Go Hercules! And what was...

In Act 3 Scene 2, from the extract, " Now he goes, with no less presence, but with much more love, than young Alcides, ...............Go Hercules!

Why does Portia say " Go Hercules! And what was she going to do in the meantime?

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At this particular point in Act III, Scene 2, Bassanio is finally going toward the caskets and preparing to choose among them as Portia anxiously watches to learn what her fate will be. Also, she extends the metaphor of Bassanio as Hercules and she as Hesione when she says, 

...Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live....(3.2.60-61)

Again employing the metaphor of Bassanio fighting as Hercules did to rescue Hesione from death, Portia speaks of "living" if Bassanio makes the correct choice of casket and dismisses her "monster" of fear. For, he will "live" in the sense of staying, rather than departing, while Portia, will then have her love sustained, and thus, she also will "live." She anxiously watches Bassanio as he moves to the caskets in order to select one, saying she is more nervous than he is-- 

With much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray. (3.2.61-62)

Then, as in a Greek play, the Chorus sings while Bassanio makes his selection. In addition, these two lines exemplify again how Shakespeare directs the sympathies of the audience toward Portia. 

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