The Merchant Of Venice Essay

The court scene where Shylock goes to complete the sentence of his bond is where he will be introduced to the conflict of justice and mercy. “He rigidly adheres to his “bond”, in strict accordance with the Mosaic principle of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” (Swisher, pg.

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The bond’s fine print expresses that if Antonio cannot fulfill his debt to Shylock, Shylock will receive a pound of Antonio’s flesh.

As learned in the play, Antonio cannot repay his debt and Shylock publically exclaims his need to receive fulfillment of that bond.

Also, Christians of the time looked at Jews with negativity.

“It can be argued that this goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, when the tradition began of making the Jews bear the guilt of the Crucifixion.

Representing the Christian belief is Antonio who is summoned to court by a Jew who goes by the name Shylock.

The Merchant Of Venice Essay

The cross between Christianity and Judaism begins as Antonio and Shylock create a legally binding bond.Shylock strictly follows the Old Testament of law and is determined to receive justice.Portia on the other hand teaches the audience the practice of the New Testament.Religion was a major factor in a number of Shakespeare’s plays. In Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” religion was more than a belief in a higher being; it reflected moral standards and ways of living.In the “Merchant of Venice,” “a Christian ethic of generosity, love, and risk-taking friendship is set in pointed contrast with a non-Christian ethic that is seen, from a Christian point of view, as grudging, resentful, and self-calculating.” (Bevington, pg.Though usually depicted as a homosexual relationship, it is a portrayal of love between friends or brothers, another type of bond.This act of bonding puts Antonio in gracious light.Shylock on the other hand is not put on the same pedestal as Antonio.As the Jewish representation of Venice, Shylock, “as a usurer, refuses to lend money interest-free in the name of friendship.” (Bevington, pg.76) This act of usury in the eyes of Christianity is considered sinful, immoral and inhumane.Instead of lending money interest-free he applies collateral and conditions to the bond.


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