The Merchant of Venice and Effective Decision Making

The Merchant of Venice and Effective Decision Making

Bassanio borrows money from Shylock in order to be accepted as a possible candidate to marry the rich and beautiful Portia. An initial investment which could be paid back with his wife’s money as soon as he has secured the match.

Portia’s father has put in place a way to eliminate any undeserving contenders for his prized daughter and her fortune.  They must choose between three caskets one of gold, another of silver and finally one of lead. One of the caskets contains a portrait of Portia. He who chooses this casket will be the man she marries.

In our scene, the beautiful Portia (played by a man or a woman) presents the caskets and explains the inscriptions on each one to the three suitors: the prince of Morocco, the duke of Aragon and Bassanio. On one side of the stage there are three very bad and crooked advisors [These can be our clients main competitors!] who offer their help to the first two contenders. On the other side of the stage there are three very good and honest advisers who are shocked and horrified by what they see and hear when the first men try to pick the right casket. The ‘good guys’ offer their advice to Bassanio and together they unravel the riddle and Bassanio wins Portia’s hand in marriage.

Sample extract from Shakespeare in Business training
to be acted out by training participants

Good guys

We can help you to make the right choice.

Bassanio

Do you guys know what you are doing?

Good guys

Of course –  we work for the best consulting group in the world!

Bassanio

Which one is that?

Good guys

The  x group . We advise Y company.

Bassanio

Hey, that’s where I work.

Good guys

We know.

Bassanio

All right then. I’m listening.

Good guys (speaking in a chorus)

Pretend you are developing a software programme. Approach the whole process logically;

Get all the facts,

Narrow down your options,

Weigh up all the pros and cons,

Evaluate the outcomes of each choice,

Choose one based on these steps and………….

Go for it!

Bassanio

Ok ….. here I go….. ( reading the casket) Gold is vulgar.  It usually hides something bad.

Good guys

Good thinking.

Bassanio

The silver is pale and common but the lead is attractive. Here choose I. Joy be the consequence!