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Bassanio Essay

  • Submitted by: Saniruddha1
  • on April 15, 2015
  • Category: Shakespeare
  • Length: 1,189 words

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Below is an essay on "Bassanio" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Bassanio’s Soliloquy Before the Three Caskets

    In this emendation, Bassanio, though not fitting the mold of a classic hero, rises to the occasion and is made to act the part.  A classic hero is crowned with a pure heart disposed to giving (which is the nature and direction of love) rather than a self-serving approach based on getting or gaining (for oneself).   Moreover, a hero's love is tempered with wisdom.  It is this balance between wisdom and pure-hearted love which guides the hero (just as the balance between mercy and justice guides the true dispensation of the law).  Bassanio, we could say, is pure-hearted but lacks the wisdom, selflessness, and fortitude of a true hero—and yet it is these qualities that he is made to embrace in this moment of heroism.   In the original soliloquy Bassanio dwells on negative images (especially those relating to deceit), perhaps subconsciously addressing his own deception (in terms of the rich, outer show he was putting on); his choice is made without any real show of reason; and, he never mentions his affection for Portia or any of her virtuous qualities.  In this emended soliloquy Bassanio is not prone to negative thoughts nor guided to make his choice by a simple and unsupported feeling but is filled with the wisdom and the guidance of a pure heart—which is the foundation of all attainments.

    We see that Portia is ‘all law’ in the following of her father’s edict whereas Bassanio (with the help of the good-meaning Nerissa) is more inclined to follow the spirit of the law rather than its letter.  We see this same theme mentioned when Bassanio makes his plea to the Duke on behalf of Antonio: ‘To do a great right, do a little wrong.’ [4.1.213]   Carefree Bassanio is not bound or constrained by the literalness of the terms of the lottery as conceived by Portia’s father, which was designed to find her a man whom she would truly love; he and Nerissa adhere to the spirit (or intention) of the lottery and not its...

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