Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a play full of controversy and twists. Shakespeare’s work continues to be spoken to this day. Many people question the relevance of his work and lingering popularity. So, why is a play from the 17th century have absolutely anything to do with a world full of advancing technology and money hungry people? The Merchant of Venice is a realistic script because it provides that life isn’t always fair and it does not always go to plan.
The two main scenes which highlight the ambiguous nature of Justice in the play are when Jessica breaks her familial bond with her father and stealing Shylock wealth depicts a covenant bound in tradition and loyalty rather than law, while on the other hand the contract between Antonio and Shylock for a ‘pound of flesh’ is an example of a legal and unorthodox contract. The theme of Justice as well as mercy are also seen in the play when Portia is acting the part of a Doctor of Laws at court. Throughout the whole play, Shylock is the epitome of Justice as he understands it.Shylock reaction to constantly being spat on by the Christians brought him to a locked idea of revenge on them for Justice. This can compare to the way humans act when they are bullied or they are being treated below others. Shylock doesn’t give any chances to Antonio when he can’t make the repayment of the three thousand ducats but clearly demands exactly one pound of flesh be paid to him. One of the most memorable quotes from the play was Shylock speech in Act 3, Scene 1 to Solaria and Salinas “l am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian|||| is?” The speech he delivers isn’t a celebration of shared experience but a monologue that allows the audience to sympathize with him as his right to decent treatment has been so neglected that he must remind them that he has ‘hands, organs, dimensions, senses” like theirs even though he isn’t a Christian.Jessica, Shylock daughter, breaks her dad’s heart by running away to marry Lorenz, a Christian and helps herself to her dad’s ducats and some treasured family valuables. Shylock reaction to Jessica taking his wealth is using the technique of a soliloquy being “my daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!” Even though we perceive Shylock in a negative light most of the time, his reaction to Jessica behaviour and actions only shows us his human side. On top of Jessica marrying a Christian she has also converted to one, which is
Justice and the Merchant of Venice by adenine the New Testament where it says “the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband”. Shylock character is greatly contrasted to the attitudes of Portia and Antonio in Act 4. As Christians, they are expected to show mercy that Shylock is Judged as being incapable of showing. Portia, disguised as the lawyer says “The quality is not strain’s, it droppers as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; it blesses him that gives and him that takes”.
Even as she follows the standard reoccurred of asking Shylock for mercy, Portia reveals her skills by appealing to his logical reasoning rather than emotion and warns Shylock that his quest for Justice without mercy may result in his own damnation. Portrait’s monologue becomes an ultimatum, a final chance for Shylock to save himself before Portia crushes his legal arguments later. Shakespeare foreshadows Shylock by showing that he lost all his wealth to Jessica and Lorenz, which now has an outcome of Shylock losing everything he is worth to Portrait’s arguments.