PORTIA:You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I standSuch as I am. Though for myself aloneI would not be ambitious in my wishTo wish myself much better, yet for youI would be trebled twenty times myself—A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich—That only to stand high in your accountI might in virtue, beauties, livings, friendsExceed account. But the full sum of meIs sum of something which, to term in gross,Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticèd.
Just as I had mentioned in a previous post, Portia is more than just the rich and beautiful girl she appears to be. When Bassanio choses the correct box, it shows that he is willing to see past the glamour of gold and silver and like Portia for her. He doesn’t “deserve” Portia or only “want what other men want,” but he is wants to “give and risk all he has” for Portia. As she explains, Bassanio “sees” her and “where she stands.” Portia is truly just “an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticèd,” and Bassanio is willing to give everything he as to her nonetheless. Likewise, Portia sees the real Bassanio and is willing to see past his poverty and debt. I’m curious to know why she is willing to look past Bassanio’s lack of money and yet not Morocco’s dark complexion. Likewise, the theme of seeing people for more than they are occurs in the relationship of Jessica and Lorenzo. Although Jessica is Jewish and Lorenzo is a Christian, they are able to see past their religious differences unlike Shylock. Lorenzo still loves her, saying “Even such a husband/ Hast thou of me as she is for a wife,” meaning he promises to be a great husband to her. In Act III, both couples look past socioeconomics and religion for an authentic connection.
Source: Merchant of Venice, Act 3