• Enter NERISSA and a servitor

    NERISSA

    Quick, quick, I pray thee. Draw the curtain straight.
    The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath
    And comes to his election presently.
    Flourish cornets Enter the Prince of ARRAGON, his train, and PORTIA

    PORTIA

    Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince.
    5If you choose that wherein I am contained,
    Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized.
    But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
    You must be gone from hence immediately.

    ARRAGON

    I am enjoined by oath to observe three things:
    10First, never to unfold to any one
    Which casket ’twas I chose; next, if I fail
    Of the right casket, never in my life
    To woo a maid in way of marriage; lastly,
    If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
    15Immediately to leave you and be gone.

    PORTIA

    To these injunctions every one doth swear
    That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

    ARRAGON

    And so have I addressed me. Fortune now
    To my heart’s hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.
    20“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.”
    You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard.
    What says the golden chest? Ha, let me see.
    “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.”
  • NERISSA and a servant enter.

    NERISSA

    Hurry, hurry, close the curtain quick. The prince of Arragon has taken his oath, and he’s coming to make his choice now.
    Trumpets play. The Prince of ARRAGON, his entourage, and PORTIA enter.

    PORTIA

    Look, here are the boxes, prince. If you choose the one that contains my picture, we’ll be married right away. But if you fail, you have to leave immediately. No pleas will be allowed.

    ARRAGON

    I swore I’d do three things. First, I can never tell anyone what box I choose. Second, if I choose the wrong box, I’ll never propose marriage for the rest of my life. Third, if I pick the wrong box, I’ll leave immediately.

    PORTIA

    Everyone who comes to gamble on winning me has to swear to these three rules.

    ARRAGON

    Okay, I’m ready. I hope luck will give me what my heart hopes for! Gold, silver, and common lead. “He who chooses me must give and risk all he has.” You’d have to be more attractive for me to give or risk anything for you. What does the golden box say? Hmm, let me see: