Merchant of Venice: Mercy and Justice

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 3 (1091 words) Published: December 14, 2010
The Merchant of Venice
Ever been in a situation where you do not know whether to be fair or bend the rules a bit? In The Merchant of Venice, mercy and justice are the continuing predominant themes. Situations occur, that doing the just act does not seem to be correct or the right thing to do. Technically, the correct thing to do is to follow and abide by justice and the law. For in this case, justice means the taking of a man’s life for the greed and sick revenge of another man. One of the true morals in this play is to be careful for what you wish for. Just as Shylock asked for justice, and in the end, justice was served. Throughout The Merchant of Venice, the themes of mercy and justice are continuously contradicting when it comes to Shylock’s situation with Antonio, in the court scene. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. They are not treated as equals to the Christians. Shylock had a well justified reason to hate Antonio after Antonio would treat Shylock like a dog and spit upon him. Shylock said that Antonio’s reason for disrespect is because he is a Jew. Shylock talked of how Jews and Christians are the same thing, except they follow different beliefs. Once Antonio admits he cannot repay his debt, Shylock is eager for his bond and justice. However never did he show mercy, even towards his own daughter, he said, “I would my / daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her / ear; would she were hearsed at my foot and the / ducats in her coffin,” (III.1.87-90). Since he lacked mercy and kindness, he was shown no mercy when Antonio was to set his demands. Antonio begged for mercy and said, “I pray thee, hear me speak,” (III.3.12). Shylock showed no mercy for Antonio and persisted that he will have his bond. Solanio reassures Antonio that the Duke will not abide to a contract of this nature. Antonio replied saying that, “The Duke cannot deny...
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