Merchant of Venice

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How does Portia define Mercy? She says, “the quality of merci is not strain’d”. Mercy is absolute and knows no bounds. Portia places mercy in high regards stating that mercy is the “throned monarch better than his crown”. She defines mercy as being above kings and queens; mercy is “above [the] sceptered sway”. Where the scepter is a sign of power and authority, mercy is above this power and authority. When an individual exhibits mercy, the individual is then most like God since mercy is “an attribute to God himself”. To Portia, mercy is a flavored means through which justice is served: “Mercy seasons justice”. Luke says, “be mercy just as your father is merciful”. God is mercy and that reflects Portia’s attributing of mercy with God. The other passages show that God shows mercy to those who show mercy. When God gives us mercy, we are in turn bound to provide mercy as well. This is reflected in Portia’s understanding of mercy as she says: “should we see salvation: we do pray for mercy”. Personal Response. Amongst the several themes explored in “The Merchant of Venice”, the conflict between Jews and Christians is one of them. Throughout history there has been a unanimous hatred for the Jews by many nations, the most recent major outbreaks of such hatred being the Holocaust during WWII. In regards to the hatred between Jews and Christians, it seems that even till this day many supposed Christians hate the Jews for killing the Messiah. However in the film, it is interesting that the punishment exacted upon Shylock is that he must become a Christian. Yet just because Shylock physically detaches himself from Jewish traditions, culture, and community and ‘converts’ to Christianity, it does not mean that he truly believes in Christian doctrine. Perhaps this punishment was meant only to be a punishment, simply a humiliation for Shylock. While the Duke seems to give

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