Week 5 Blog Prompt:
Justice vs Mercy
By the end of the trial scene, do you think true justice and mercy was achieved? Reflect and write on the following questions:
No. There was justice but no true justice. Shylock is persistent in having his revenge – pound of flesh from Antonio. Portia, intelligently, manipulates the words in the bond. She asks Shylock if he was going to show mercy three times. However, he insisted on having his pound of flesh. He had slowly fallen into Portia’s well-planned trap. Just as Shylock was about to get his pound of flesh, Portia mentioned that the bond does not mention a drop of blood. At this moment, Shylock realises that he had been defeated – he knew that blood and flesh are inseparable. Therefore, he quickly says that he would just take the money. Before Shylock could do that, Portia enacted an ancient Venetian law against Shylock. Shylock was defeated. There was justice. Shylock wanted his bond, he wanted justice. Therefore, Portia lets him have his bond but before he could do it, she attacked Shylock with the “loophole” she found from the bond. Actually, she was manipulating the words. She was smart to predict that Shylock would reject the money. There was no true justice because the defeat of Shylock was due to manipulating of words in the bond, this seemed a little unfair.
2. Is there true mercy, as expounded by Portia? Why?
Yes, there was true mercy expounded by Portia. At the beginning of the trial scene, Portia advised Shylock to retract the bond and take the money but Shylock insisted on having his revenge on Antonio. Portia had repeatedly advised Shylock to retract the bond but her advice fell on deaf ears. His vengeance had led to his downfall unknowingly. As he wanted the bond, Portia granted his wish but at a later part, Portia pointed out the loophole in the bond. When Shylock wanted the money instead of the bond, Portia pointed out that Shylock had declined repeatedly and therefore shall have nothing but the bond. Later, she enacted an ancient Venetian law against him. His life was spared by the Duke if he is converted to Christianity. The Duke showed mercy to Shylock by sparing his life while Antonio showed him mercy by letting him keep half of his wealth. Many people think that Portia is ruthless. What do you think?
3. Justice and Law can be manipulated by people in power. Comment on this with reference to the text and other real-life cases and examples.
Justice and law in this world now can be manipulated by people in power or wealth. They can bribe the judge, juries and witnesses and at the end of they day they will still get away scot-free. In the text, Portia merely manipulate the words in the bond to manipulate justice and law.