# User:Danlex15/Essay

#### Love Through Lottery:

                A Study of the Caskets, Act 2, Sc. 7, The Merchant of Venice


The caskets left by Portia’s father as the test of fidelity and suitability of suitors are not so unusual in literary works of Shakespeare’s time and before. In fact, many works exist in which the suitor has to prove his worth either through physical exploits or some other measure. To the Elizabethan audience then, the presence of these caskets was in keeping with their expectations. The young man who gets the girl must emerge as heroic and worthy. This adds to the excitement of the scenes.

The choice of test might have been unorthodox but has added more weight to the brilliance of the playwright. Shakespeare conjured up a situation where the caskets chosen were of different metals. The first two were of gold and silver respectively while the last was of dull lead. Man has always regarded metals as precious, semi-precious or base as a consequence of their quality and usefulness. The glitter of some naturally caused men to adorn themselves with these. Some like gold and silver stood out in this regard and became valuable also as currency. Beauty and wealth have, therefore, become associated with these two metals. Lead on the other hand is heavy and dull and not malleable enough to be fashioned into jewellery. Given these facts, one can see how the gold and silver provided the perfect distracters in this objective type test.