Why Did Bassanio Choose The Lead Casket

Why does Bassanio select the lead casket in The Merchant of Venice?

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In thinking about the reasons Bassanio chooses the lead casket over the gold or silver one in The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare , it is also worth considering the qualities of lead. As well as being clever to work out the "trick element" of the test by using...

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In thinking about the reasons Bassanio chooses the lead casket over the gold or silver one in The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare, it is also worth considering the qualities of lead. As well as being clever to work out the "trick element" of the test by using his rationality and common sense, Bassanio also shows how down to earth he is by picking something that has day to day value. For ordinary people, lead has useful attributes - it is heavy and very valuable in waterproofing and sealing roofs. we must also remember Shakespeare's using the association with death - it is used to line coffins!

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The reason that Bassanio selects this casket over the gold one and the silver one is because he thinks that you cannot judge a book by its cover, essentially.

He thinks that, these days, people are too concerned with appearances.  They think that what looks good really is good.  But Bassanio is not fooled.  He thinks that it must be the lead one because no one would really expect that.

He says that both the gold one and the silver one look too valuable.  They are just tricks.

Because he figures this out correctly, he gets to be the one to marry Portia.

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