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Does Bassanio Deserve to Marry Portia?

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Does Bassanio Deserve to Marry Portia? When we first meet Bassanio he is with his good friend Antonio asking for money. We learn that Antonio has previously lent money to Bassanio and he has wasted it by living beyond his means. Bassanio tells Antonio; 'and by adventuring both I oft found both,' meaning that if Antonio lends him the money he will use it to make his fortune and pay off both his debts. Perhaps to some degree Bassanio is using Antonio for his money; it seems unreasonable to ask for more before he has paid his previous debt. He wants to use the money to woo Portia, who he says he has fallen in love with. However, he mentions her money before her beauty 'In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair,' and describes her using references to wealth; 'Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,' making us suspect that his motive for wishing to marry her is not love. ...read more.


We know that Portia is very strong willed, but she shows another side to her nature by readily giving herself to Bassanio calling him; 'her lord, her governor, her king.' In this way she shows herself to be a much more conventional Elizabethan woman than we first thought. Portia is cleverer than Bassanio and certainly possesses a greater wit. Bassanio's speeches before he chooses the casket are comic as they are far too intense. After choosing he praises Portia too much, he is trying too hard to be sincere, maybe indicating that he isn't, and is more happy about receiving her money. It is at this time that Portia gives Bassanio a ring telling him that it represents everything she has given to him, and their love. She then goes on to say that 'when you part from, lose, or give away, Let it presage the ruin of your love, And be my vantage to exclaim on you.' ...read more.


There is quite a strong possibility that she was in possession of this letter before the trial as there is no explanation for her just receiving it. In that case, it means that the whole trial was for her own amusement. Again illustrating just how cruel, selfish and dishonest Portia can be. To some degree, I think that Bassanio and Portia deserve each other. However, considering things just from Bassanio's point of view I do not think that he deserves to marry Portia. He wasted all of his own money, and then his friends. Before paying back this debt he asked for yet more money. He knew the terms of Shylock's bond, yet was still happy to see Antonio put his life in danger. I do not believe that Bassanio's motive for wishing to marry Portia was love, I think he only wanted her for her money. He is no match for her intellectually either. At the first test he broke his marriage vows to her, and appears to value his friendship with Antonio, more than his marriage to her. ...read more.

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