The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton Shakespeare edition.
But this reasoning is not in the fashion to
choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose'! I may neither
choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a
living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father. Is it not
hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none? (1.2.3)
Portia seems to resent the fact that she doesn't have a choice in her marriage. Though she doesn't say she would like to disobey her father's will, she clearly feels limited by his proscription of her choice. Again, we see that she's strong-willed enough to dislike her father's choice (so she's not a pushover), but she's generally a good girl, so, even though he's dead, she won't defy his will.
I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable; for there is not
one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God
grant them a fair departure. (1.2.15)
Portia has a ton of choices, but she doesn't like any of them. Her plight is similar to that of Penelope in the Odyssey. Like Portia, Penelope's suitors wanted her for all the wrong reasons. We do wonder, though, at the fact that Portia seems to hate all of the men for their character flaws, when the obvious reason to hate them is that they're trying to use her. Does she not realize they're all after her money? Does she just not care? This will be important for whether she can love Bassanio, as he too is after her money.