The Merchant Of Venice Court Scene Essay

The Trial Scene In The Merchant Of Venice

The Trial Scene in The Merchant of Venice

Written between 1596 and 1598 "The Merchant of Venice" is not one of
the most performed plays written by William Shakespeare. The play is
classed as one of the sixteen comedy plays and most productions often
use modern times and dress. It was performed in front of an audience
who were not very well educated but the issues being raised in the
play would have been understood. A modern day audience would be less
sympathetic than the audience of that period towards the Jew, Shylock.
Venice is the setting of the play; a nation that was not ruled by a
King or Queen, The city was also the trading centre of the world but
at the end of the 16th century was overtaken by England which was at a
new age. "The Merchant of Venice" has two main characters, Shylock, a
Jew and Antonio, who is an extremely wealthy merchant, an investor who
gets wealth using venture capitalism. In Venice, your word was like
having an agreement in writing. The breaking of this bond would result
in a serious penalty, as it would in today's society but in a
different nature. Shylock is a moneylender who lends sums of money to
others at a fixed rate but charges vast amounts of interest. However,
Antonio also lends amounts of money, but without the interest. This is
"Gratis". This is one of the main reasons why Shylock hates Antonio
because Antonio is meant to be making Shylock's profits to drop. They
both are 'bigots' because they also hate each other for their
religion.

"I hate him for he is a Christian"
==================================

Shylocks only concern was for money. Shylock agreed to lend a sum of
money to Antonio . As part of the bond, Shylock insists that if his
money is not given back in time, with the added interest, he would be
entitled to perform his bond which stated that shylock could cut
exactly one pound of flesh from Antonio's body. This bond between
Shylock and Antonio is the reason for the court scene in Act 4 Scene
1, the dramatic climax of the play. Although it is not the final
scene, it is the finale of the "The Merchant of Venice" where all the
perplexing sub-plots and main storyline are pulled together to create
an explosive ending. The tension created between Shylock and Antonio
is one of the reasons Act 4 Scene 1 is so dramatically effective. At
the very beginning of this scene in the play directed by , Shylock is
standing and Antonio is seated. This gives the impression that Shylock
is the one on trial when in fact it is Antonio.
======================================================================

"To suffer with a quietness of spirit"
--------------------------------------

(Continued on the next page)

"Poor merchants flesh", Strong emotive language is used to emphasise
this point. As well as the stress caused from...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Directing Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

3426 words - 14 pages Directing Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice "I hate him for he is a Christian" (Act 1 Scene 3, line 34). This quote tells me a lot about Shylock's true character, which would help me to direct Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play - A Merchant of Venice. This is the aim of my essay. Act 4 Scene 1 is very important, both within Act 4, and within the play as a whole. Act 4 is the act in which Antonio...

Commentary on Passage from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice: Act 3, Scene 2, lines 73-107

1101 words - 4 pages This key passage, taken from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, is a soliloquy given by Bassanio as he debates which of the caskets will grant him Portia’s hand in...

The Merchant of Venice

1209 words - 5 pages Comparison and Contrast of Shylock and Claudius Introduction This essay looks into the lives of Shylock and Antonio. These are two of Shakespearean antagonists of all time. They are alike in more ways than one. Shylock in Merchant of Venice is a Jewish moneylender based in Venice. He has been tormented and repressed mainly by the Christian population. One finds it easy to sympathize with him mainly because he has his own reasons to be loathing,...

"The Merchant of Venice".

1844 words - 7 pages English Coursework: The Merchant of VeniceThe "merchant of Venice" is a multifarious play with many levels of interpretation. Telling the story of a Jewish merchant living in the predominately Christian capital of Venice, it can be seen as a play about persecution, justice and of social cruelty. The "merchant of Venice" is representatively driven by the same set arguments of racial and religious prejudice that existed in Shakespearean...

The Merchant of Venice

521 words - 2 pages The Merchant Of VeniceAct 1In the fist act, Antonio is introduced as the Merchant of Venice. A friend of him, Bassanio, desperately needs money because all of his money is on his ships and he wants to go to Belmont to visit the woman of his dreams, Portia. Therefore he goes to Antonio to ask if he is...

The Merchant of Venice

2976 words - 12 pages The Merchant of Venice is shows the dynamics of love and to what extent humans will go to show love, they will use their wealth and even be prepared to give up their life for the people they love. Both Antonio and Portia love Bassanio differently. Portia perceives Antonio’s phileo in competition with her eros, (both forms of love will be defined later) and throughout the play she is seen trying to defeat Antonio’s phileo and she does this by...

The Merchant Of Venice

756 words - 3 pages Appearances and Decisions ''Don't judge a book by its cover'' is a famous phrase everyone has heard. In the play, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare clearly states that outer appearances aren't important throughout many scenes in the play. The inner qualities such as honesty, charity, and kindness are more important.

The Merchant of Venice

2425 words - 10 pages The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice was written in 1598 by William Shakespeare. The story is set in Elizabethan times, which was the sixteenth century. People back then were quite prejudiced towards any race that was not Christian. They would have hated Jews. When Shylock would come onto the stage, the audience would have just booed him back off. The Christians had their reasons for hating the Jews. The fact that they supposedly...

Women in "The Merchant of Venice"

701 words - 3 pages Characters of Women in "The Merchant of Venice" In his relatively short play, "The Merchant of Venice", Shakespear introduces very new and bright ideas such as women's rights and their equality with men which were totally unacceptable for the people of the Elizabethan time. In that male dominated world women were considered no better than cattle or land and to talk directly about their rights and needs was useless and even...

Dispute Resolution in The Merchant of Venice

1315 words - 5 pages Shakespearean literature has been long commended by scholars for its incorporation of legal discourse into its plot structures that further paves way for interdisciplinary study of law. Practically all of Shakespearean texts are known to have tangential relation and relevance to legal practice but plays like “Merchant of Venice” have scenes that do not only depict a courtroom trial but also shed light on some key aspects and methods of dispute...

Racism in The Merchant of Venice

2202 words - 9 pages Racism in The Merchant of VeniceWilliam Shakespeare's satirical comedy, The Merchant of Venice, believed to have been written in 1596 was an examination of hatred and greed. The premise deals with the antagonistic relationship between Shylock, a Jewish...

The Merchant of Venice – Trial Scene

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

Kimberley Williamson “The Merchant of Venice” Analyse how ONE main character’s attempts to solve a problem were important to the text as a whole. In the text, “The Merchant of Venice,” written and performed by Shakespeare, Antonio, the merchant, borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to send his friend Bassanio overseas to woo and marry Portia. However, failing to pay back the money in time, Shylock takes Antonio to court demanding a pound of his flesh in payment.

Portia, one of the main characters, disguised as a lawyer, attempts (and succeeds) to rescue Antonio using the law to her advantage. This scene is important to the text as a whole, as it brings into question and explains some of the main themes used in the play, these being, mercy, law, justice and religion. Mercy When Portia first arrives in the court and is assessing the situation, she appeals to Shylock to show mercy to Antonio, and to let the case go.

She says, “Then must the Jew be merciful,” however, when Shylock asks why he must, she adds, “The quality of mercy is not strained… It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,” meaning that he does not have to show mercy, but that he should as he is morally obliged. She tries to sway him to do so by making it seem honourable and that he, also, will be rewarded for his troubles. Shylock does not agree, and is intent on getting revenge on Antonio by taking the pound of flesh, which will also be taking his life. At Portia’s insistence that it would be a mistake, he firmly states, “My deeds upon my head.

I crave the law, the penalty, and forfeit of my bond. ” A bitter resentment and hatred of Antonio fuels this response from Shylock and he cannot be persuaded otherwise. However, once Portia has won the case and Antonio is free, Shylock is sentenced to death for aspiring to take the life of a Venetian. Here, mercy comes into play again, for the Duke of Venice says, “That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit, I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it,” and gives an alternate punishment. Then, Antonio further displays mercy, by lessening the punishment the Duke has just dealt.

The strong contrast that these two men display when compared to Shylock, and the speech that Portia tries to convince Shylock with, explain to us the importance of mercy. As Shylock was not willing to show mercy to Antonio, neither the Duke nor Antonio were obliged to show him any, however, they did so anyway, and this then saved his life. Therefore, Portia’s attempts to save Antonio were important as mercy was introduced and this is showed in the way that where the deaths of two characters were inevitable, they did not occur against all odds. Law and Justice

The laws and rules of Venice were depended on very heavily in the text, and Portia’s attempts at rescuing Antonio from Shylock’s bond show how these can be manipulated for both right and wrong purposes. This in turn shows the importance of justice, and how it comes about. While Shylock has the bond, the court and all of those involved can see no way for Antonio to escape the repercussions of his money lending. The bond is forfeit, the city’s laws state that it must be adhered to and it seems as if Shylock will get the justice he asks for until Portia arrives disguised as a lawyer.

At first, she agrees with Shylock that the bond is forfeit, “There is no power in Venice can alter a degree established,” and grants him the right to the pound of Antonio’s flesh, “A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine. The court awards it, and the law doth give it. ” But just as Shylock is about to take what is his, and all hope is gone, Portia skillfully manipulates the situation and states that no blood can be shed in the taking of the flesh, which is impossible.

Shylock is then trapped by the law with which he had only moments ago controlled to his advantage. When asking if that is truly what the law stated, Portia replies to him, “Thyself shalt see the act. For as thou urgest justice, be assured thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest. ” Then, true justice is given to Shylock, however not of the sort he wanted. While the Duke and Antonio save him from the penalty of death, he still must give all his property and fortune to his daughter and son-in-law, and he also must become a Christian.

The importance of the law and in turn justice, are shown through Portia’s attempts to save Antonio, as she is able to manipulate the laws to produce good. However, it also shows how it can be equally used for wrong purposes by the wrong people and the repercussions that could evolve from this. Justice was in the end served rightly, but also could have been given to Shylock had events not happened as they did, and this shows the importance of these two themes to the text as a whole. Religion

The conflict of the Christian population of Venice against the Jewish beliefs of Shylock, introduces a religious aspect in this text, which climaxes in the scene where Portia saves Antonio in court. All along, Shylock mocks Christians with a bitter hatred and rage fueled by Antonio’s previous racist comments, and his daughter’s elopement with a Christian youth only intensifies this. The ironic twist ensues when after being set free from the bond, Antonio states that as part of his punishment, Shylock must “presently become a Christian. The punishment is first and foremost a personal insult to Shylock, as it ‘hits him where it hurts the most. ’ He is very happy with and dedicated to his faith, and believes that he is superior to Christians. However, being forced into a conversion makes him realize that he cannot continue to hate and slag Christians anymore as it would now be hypocritical. Furthermore, as an “alien” to Venice, (resulting from his non-Venetian status and Jewish religion,) he has a certain amount of freedom because he doesn’t have to abide by all of the laws etc, and he can not be forced to do anything his religion forbids.

He can, and usually does, rebel and is very vocal with his opinions. Now that he is a Christian, it allows Venice to have more control over him. Also, once the punishment is dealt, Gratiano, a friend of Bassanio and Antonio, says, “In christening shalt thou have two godfathers,” which means that once converted, Shylock will have two men watching over him that he will be accountable to, and who will report him.

Having to convert to Christianity is a harsh punishment for Shylock, and subdues him to the extent where all his pride has been taken from him and he begs to go home. Through Portia’s attempts to rescue Antonio, the conflict between Christianity and Judaism comes to a climax and Shylock is right in the middle, and receives the brunt of the punishment, therefore is important. Through the actions of Portia in “The Merchant of Venice,” we learn how important the themes of mercy, law, justice and religion are to the text as a whole.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

While saving Antonio, she explains that mercy is not an obligation, but that it is the right thing to do, and also shows how the law can be manipulated to either harm or help depending on the intentions of the manipulator, which then in turn explains how justice is dependant on the law. We also begin to understand of the impact resulting from the conflict between two religions. These are all important lessons that through one scene, and one character’s actions we have begun to learn and understand, and if we in turn can apply these lessons to our lives we will begin to spread tolerance and understanding through our world.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice – Trial Scene

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “The Merchant Of Venice Court Scene Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *