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Justice In The Merchant Of Venice

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The concept of justice varies depending on the country, their cultures, and on individual people. Justice and mercy are important themes in The Merchant of Venice and are supported by quotes in the play; it is clearly seen that these two virtues cannot be achieved simultaneously. Justice calls for “an eye for an eye” and mercy asks for forgiveness and compassion towards the one who did wrong. Using examples from The Merchant of Venice, it can clearly be seen that these two human virtues can not be pursued at the same time. There are various definitions as to what justice truly is. However, the one pertaining to this essay is “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals” (Justice, n.d.). Justice is the…show more content…
This involves being compassionate and forgiving someone even though they have done wrong. A real world example that involves the law is the parole system. Criminals are given a second chance after they have been sent to prison. One example of mercy being presented in the play is in Act 4, Scene 1. Portia is asking Shylock to show mercy towards Antonio. She is asking him to take the money that Bassanio is providing instead of insisting on taking a pound of Antonio’s flesh. PORTIA The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. [...] But mercy is above this sceptered sway. It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God Himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God 's When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this: That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy, And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much To mitigate the justice of thy plea, Which, if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there. (IV, i, 188-193;
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