Please expalin Morocco's misinterpreations in Act 2, Scene 7 of "The Merchant of Venice". So what's wrong with Morocco's interpretation of the sayings? Why is he one whom Portia...

Please expalin Morocco's misinterpreations in Act 2, Scene 7 of "The Merchant of Venice".

 

So what's wrong with Morocco's interpretation of the sayings? Why is he one whom Portia cannot rightly love?

Act II Scene 7.

With Morocco's choice we finally get to see the "text" of Portia's father's wisdom. "Who chooses his meaning," said Nerissa, "chooses you." And, supposedly the sayings on the caskets are designed in such a way that they will "never be chosen by any rightly but one who you [Portia] shall rightly love." So Portia's dad has indeed usurped his daughter's ability to choose, but somehow, says Nerissa, this casket game will weed out those Portia cannot "rightly love."

Expert Answers
robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you've hit the key point that the casket game is deeply flawed in many ways. Not only does it presume to choose for Portia exactly whom she should marry, there is no evidence to suggest (in a play full of exchanges, transaction, deals with worked out consequences) exactly *why* its choice would not be a disaster.

I don't trust it, and by the sound of things neither do you. And nor does Portia. Because Bassanio, of course, whom she wants to marry, gets a song preceding his choice, in which every end-line word happens to rhyme with "lead" - which, even the least cynical critic has to admit, is a pretty big clue.

Perhaps, in that case, the casket-game is excellent: and had it been left to reject gold-digging Bassanio as it did the others, would have selected Portia a really good husband next. We shall never know.

The reason, though that Morocco is not suited to Portia is pure and simple: his skin colour. On his first entrance he asks her to "Mislike me not for my complexion" - and, as he exits, she wishes that "...all of his complexion choose me so". There is nothing at all wrong with his choices. In a play which is interested in racism, Portia is - purely and simply - racist.

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The Merchant of Venice

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