OscarShakespeareQuestions - 1. The Merchant of Venice...

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1. The Merchant of Venice depends heavily upon laws and rules such as the Venetian Law and the Law that is written in contract and wills. The Laws also play an important part in the play and we may see that the laws and the rules can be manipulated for bad purposes; however, if it is used by the right people it is also capable of producing good results. As we notice, the law serves even to the most absurd request such as the case of Shylock versus Antonio. The law is just to a certain extent, it is because the Law is the very backbone of the Venetian economy, as stated by Antonio that “Since that the trade and profit of the city / Consisteth of all nations” (III.iii.26–31). Trading is the main business in the city and the Law protects all Venetians regardless of the religions and nationalities. Therefore the duke’s inability to bend law is just. However, at the later part we see that the moment Portia came to the trial, masquerading as a man, she is able to bend the law gracefully and turn the prosecutor into a victim. We are starting to see that the law is flaw and it has not been designed carefully to prevent people from abusing it. 2. In Act 4, Shylock seems to be triumphant and boastful. He is missing the point that if Antonio can not pay the money he borrowed, Shylock entitled a pound of his flesh. Shylock’s main purpose is not to stand on the law and demand justice but rather for his personal revenge. Shylock’s speech is straight forward. Shylock uses pathos in his speech in order to gain sympathy from the audience in hopes that the audience will be able to accept his view about Christian treatment of Jews. On the other hand, Antonio is on the softer side. He appeals to Shylock for mercy and forgiveness, although Shylock refuses it saying that “I would not draw them; I would have my bond”. We notice that Antonio begins to accept his fate
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2008 for the course ENG 123 taught by Professor Leong during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

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OscarShakespeareQuestions - 1. The Merchant of Venice...

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