The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0694 Tuesday, 20 April 1999.
Date: Monday, 19 Apr 1999 10:32:03 -0500
Subject: Who Chooseth Me
Brian Haylett should observe that like all the suitors, Bassanio must
(if a loser in the lottery) abandon all hope of marriage to any other
woman. But in a larger sense this inscription is about marriage itself,
a person entering into marriage must give and hazard all he/she has. So
when he contemplates the leaden choice, B. is in effect choosing
marriage. A nice touch in the play. The best comment on risk in MV is
by David Bevington in his one-vol edn. of Shak. 1992. (I have not
checked his most recent edn. or his edns. ?1973 and 1980) The
interpretation is much broader than just this inscription, but it will
be of interest to Brian and probably others.