Blog Prompt 5

02 Aug

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:

1. Is there true justice? Why?

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.


Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


9 responses to “Blog Prompt 5

  1. yx

    August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Is there really true mercy? Portia gave Shylock a long mercy speech but when she trapped shylock by her play of words, she did not give mercy to Shylock. Even when Bassanio offered Shylock 3x of the original, which (if she have mercy) she have the power to allow but she did not, is this really true mercy?

  2. Jack Tan

    August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Well… It is a good post! But do note the last portion though. Perhaps in our world right now, bribery of judges is seemingly impossible, because there is always the public keeping a vigilant watch over criminals and the fairness of their trials. Yes, do take note! Oh yes, another thing, I find it a little contradicting when you say there was justice, but there was no true justice. I just feel that maybe you should have just said that there was no justice, because I believe there is practically no difference between justice and true justice. Is there a fake justice? Just my opinions on your post! Good post though!
    Jack Tan 2O307

  3. Shaodian

    August 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Err? What do you mean by “justice” and “true justice”? I mean, I don’t quite understand the difference between the two words. You might want to elaborate on that.
    And as for the last question, you might want to give more examples on manipulation of law and justice

  4. chuabingrui

    August 6, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Hi, I like the first part of your first post! However, I would like to question your second part as I feel that there isn’t any mercy shown on Portia’s part, as she is the one who played around with the words in the bond which gave the Duke a chance to convert Shylock to a christian. I feel that there is no mercy as by converting Shylock to a christian, he loses his dignity, his friends and most importantly, his job. It makes him a helpless old man after being converted to christian, when rightfully, the pound of flesh belongs to him. Well, you may say that the bond states only a pound of flesh without a drop of blood, however, will he even create the bond if he could do that? Obviously, it should be quite clear cut that Antonio should die but Shylock ended up being the victim of his bond. Also, for the third part of your post, I feel that it is quite true that judges and witnesses can be bribed, however, not in developed countries like Singapore. It may be possible in the case of third world countries. Good post anyway!

  5. Tan Wei Jin

    August 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hey Wen Feng! I don’t quite agree with you. Portia did not manipulate the words in the bond. The bond did not say anything about a drop of blood. Its not stated at all! So it was right for Shylock not being able to kill Antonio. Anyway, it was a good post! Please visit my blog too!

  6. Goh Arnold

    August 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Hi Wen Feng, thank you for posting. For the first part of the question, you answered the questioned, but only about Merchant of Vernice. However, the question is asking about justice in general. Maybe you would like to answer it from other perspective as well. For, the second part, I do not totally agree with you. I do agree that in the beginning, Portia had tried to give Shylock a chance, however, blinded by greed and his intentions of harming Antonio, Shylock had gotten himself trapped. This is not Portia’s fault by I rather Shylock’s. However, for the part when Shylock was forced to convert to christianity, I feel that no mercy was shown. We can argue that Portia had shown mercy by sparing his life. However, forcing him to abandon his reliogion had stripped him of his dignity and lose a lot of waht belongs to him. Thus, for the second part, I feel it is a no yes answer. On the whole it is a good post. Thank you.

  7. Bram

    August 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Wen Feng. For the part on justice, I quite like the that fact that you point out that it was not true justice as Portia had manipulated the conditions of the bond. I agree that “true justice” would be to do according to the bond’s true meaning which in this case would be to take a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. I would like to present two different views. Firstly, the bond did not state that blood cannot be spilled. Thus, Portia cannot argue that Shylock is not to spill any blood. On the other hand, how can the murder of someone be true justice? I leave you to think about these two points.

    For the part of mercy, I believe that Portia does not seem to be showing true mercy. She basically played with the words to trap Shylock in a situation whereby he becomes completely crushed. Portia has caused Shylock to lose everything: his principal, his property and even his life. I do not think that this is mercy. In fact, it appears to be cuelty. However, we must also consider that Portia is disguised as a Doctor of Laws and must act like one. She is not in the position to be merciful but she asks Antonion to be merciful. Perhaps she wanted to show mercy but is not in a position to do so.

  8. Lam Sze Tung

    August 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Wen Feng ,

    I do like your use of pictures to depict the point that you would be using later .

    Next , I would like to point out , as the previous speakers have mentioned that there is no , in your post , mention on the difference of what “justice” and “true justice” is . So maybe you would like to define that ?

    Next , I would like to ask you about something . “Advised” is the word you used in answering the second question . I don’t think “advised” is a suitable word because she did not intentionally want Shylock to drop the bond . Her intention was to fix Shylock’s mind to be so filled with thoughts about revenge so that in turn , the tables could be turned against him .

    Also , I would like to point to you and ask you if the there is true mercy shown by the persecutors . Is being stripped of one’s dignity . faith , friends etc.. and being ostracised in both the Jewish and Christian society in anyway similar to what mercy is or should be ?

    Otherwise , I think you did I great job on the post ! Keep it up ! 😀

  9. zihan

    August 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    First of all, excellent blog posts! However, i do not quite get you when you say “There was justice but no true justice. ”
    Perhaps you can give some you can present your answers in different point of views-Shylock, Antonio or Portia.


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