In The Merchant of Venice, discuss the meaning of the extract "Now he goes,... Go Hercules" in Act 3 Scene 2.
mwestwood, you had answered my question about why Portia says Go Hercules to Bassanio and what was she going to do in the meantime? It was an excellent answer, but can you please simplify it for me and make it high school level.
In the basic plot of Act III, sc. 2, Portia expresses worry over Bassanio's choice of casket. His choosing and actions have a direct impact upon her. Portia has strong feelings for Bassanio and wants him to choose correctly. She also feels helpless because she cannot tell him which casket to choose. She is excited about the prospect of him succeeding in the challenge so that he can marry her. At the same time, she is scared that his mistake is going to doom her. The emotions make her someone who is deeply invested in his actions, but also a bystander to them.
It is in this light where Portia's use of language is effective in conveying her emotional state. In the opening lines of the extract, it is clear that Portia sees Bassanio as a Herculean- type of hero, one who must exercise the right muscle in order to make a good choice:
Now he goesWith no less presence but with much more loveThan young Alcides, when he did redeemThe virgin tribute paid by howling TroyTo the sea monster.