In the 'Merchant of Venice' by Shakespeare, from Act 3 Scene 2, from the lines, " So may the outward shows be least themselves: ...........with fair ornament" what examples does Bassanio give about...

In the 'Merchant of Venice' by Shakespeare, from Act 3 Scene 2, from the lines, " So may the outward shows be least themselves: ...........with fair ornament" what examples does Bassanio give about outward appearances?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Scene 2 of Act III of The Merchant of Venice, Portia tries to delay Bassanio in his selection of the casket to win her in order to, at least, have some time with him beforehand in case he makes the wrong choice. In lines 75-82, Bassanio reflects upon the differences between appearance and reality, a deception often alluded to in such adages as "All that glitters is not gold," "Beauty is only skin deep," and "You cannot judge a book by its cover." Unfortunately for many, however, perception often forms their realities. 

Lest he be tricked by appearances, Bassanio tries to reason things out aloud.: "So may the outward shows be least themselves" (3.2.75).

  • Example No.1

In cases of law, the most eloquent speaker often deceives his listeners though he defend evil doings through the manipulation of words. (ll.77-79)

  • Example No. 2 

In religion, by a person's finding a passage with wording that can be misconstrued, Scripture can be quoted in the defense of evil. (ll.79-82)

  • Example No. 3

For nearly every offense and sin, there is some text that can be skewered to defend such wrongs and make them seem virtuous. (ll.80-83)

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