Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: December 20, 2005
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist, once said, "Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity." In The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, Shylock, one of the main characters, receives harsh punishment and injustice in court. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender in Venice and is discriminated against by the people of Venice because of his religion. Shylock goes to court seeking a pound of the flesh of Antonio, a merchant in Venice. Antonio borrows 3000 ducats from Shylock and signed a bond with Shylock which said that if Antonio is unable to pay the 3000 ducats on time, he would have to give up a pound of his own flesh. Antonio, confident that he can pay back the money, signs the bond. Instead of getting his bond in court, Shylock ends up losing his religion and half of all of his belongings.

Shylock's sentence is unjust because he did not receive a fair trial. From the onset of the trial, Shylock was put down and treated as if his intentions were bad. The bias of the courtroom and everyone involved is revealed in the beginning when Antonio walks into the courtroom. Upon Antonio's entrance, the Duke says, "Thou art come to answer a stony adversary, an inhuman wretch, uncapable of pity, void, and empty from any dram of mercy." (4.1.3-6). The Duke reveals his opinion of the trial in the beginning itself without even hearing the other side. The fact that the Duke calls Shylock an "inhuman wretch" and says Shylock is "uncapable of pity" without even hearing Shylock's justification suggests that he is very biased from the outset and not at all favorable toward Shylock. On top of being biased, the sentence that Shylock received should never be legal because the judge who gave his sentence is Portia, a woman. Portia is Bassanio's wife and she decides to disguise as a man and go to the trial in place of Dr. Bellario. Dr. Bellario was supposed to help the Duke decide on the case. Portia disguised as Dr. Bellario...
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