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Shylock’s Trial: Unfair or Just?

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Shylock’s Trial: Unfair or Just?

Was shylock given a fair trial?

My perspective:

I do not think that Shylock was given a fair trial. The conditions of the bond between Shylock and Antonio are: in return for a loan of 3,000 ducats, Antonio has to repay Shylock in three months. Shylock does not require any interest, but to secure the bond, Antonio agrees to pledge one pound of his flesh as collateral. At the very beginning of Act 4, scene 1; the bias of the Duke against Shylock is revealed when he says, “Thou art come to answer a stony adversary, an inhuman wretch, incapable of pity, void, and empty from any dram of mercy”(Act iv, scene i, 3-6). The Duke calls Shylock an ‘inhuman wretch’ without even hearing Shylock’s testimony, which clearly indicates his partiality. Another reason why the trial was unfair Is that Portia pretended to be Dr Bellario; Dr. Bellario were supposed to help the duke decide the case, but in reality it was Portia tricking the entire court which makes the decision invalid also. Although I do not believe that Antonio should have been essentially murdered by taking a “pound of flesh” from near his chest, I believe that the fact that Shylock had to convert to Christianity was very unfair. Shylock’s faith is a huge part of his identity and being stripped of that part of him completely undermines his humanity. Throughout the play, I felt a sense of pity for Shylock, especially in Act 3, scene 1 when Shylock goes into his soliloquy about how Jewish people are equal to Christians; “I am a Jew. (...) If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge”(Act iii, scene i, 57-68). Here, Shylock expresses



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