“All that glitters is not gold—You’ve often heard that said.Many men have sold their soulsJust to view my shiny surface.But gilded tombs contain worms.If you’d been as wise as you were bold,With an old man’s mature judgment,You wouldn’t have had to read this scroll.So goodbye—you lost your chance.”
In Act II, Morocco chooses the gold box: “He who chooses me will get what many men want.” In his eyes, all men want Portia, an absolutely beautiful and highly wealthy girl. However, the scroll in this box states that “all that glitters is not gold.” Similarly, this can still be applied to Portia. When Morocco first shows himself to Portia, he asks her to see past his dark complexion and know that he loves her deeply. She replies: “In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes,” meaning that appearance isn’t the only thing she values. However, what she says changes once Morocco loses the game. In fact, the moment Morocco leaves, she exclaims “A gentle riddance.—Draw the curtains, go.—Let all of his complexion choose me so,” meaning that she doesn’t want anyone with his “complexion” to come by either. Portia embodies something that glitters and appears simple and nice, but at heart is not gold and openminded.
Source: Merchant of Venice, Act 2