The merchant of Venice by Shakespeare shows how unfairly Christian people treated Jewish people. Many of the scenes led to me siding with Shylock as he is treated unfairly. Does shylock deserve justice? Did Antonio have mercy? Shylock was one of the characters that I grew emotionally attached to. The scenes that really locked this feeling in for me were his big speech to Salarino and Solanio, and the court scene.
In Shylock’s famous speech “to bait fish withal”, in Act III scene I he talks about how he has lost everything. His daughter has run away, taken thousands of ducats and jewels with her, and Antonio has lost the money that Shylock had lent to him. All Shylock wants is justice and Salarino and Solanio are begging for him to have mercy. They do not see why he would want to cut a pound of flesh off Antonio as punishment for not paying back the money he was lent. This speech has years of mistreatment in it making it more powerful. It seems as if Shylock has always been upset about how unfairly he is treated just because he is a Jew and the fact that he just wants revenge for one thing, he is a bad person. The long speech really shows emotion and gives off the feeling that Shylock is fed up with the world and how he is treated. If all the things said in the speech are true, then I believe Shylock deserves justice. Today, one cannot have this unethical punishment and I believe that it is horrible to kill someone; so obviously I do not think that he should be allowed to kill someone. I do though believe that he deserves justice.
I was constantly confused while reading and did not catch many details of the play. This was because of the big difference of words and grammar from the 1500s until now. While watching the court scene (Act IV scene I) in a film version of the play I understood what was said and what had happened and was in shock. My jaw dropped as I saw how unfair and slimy the Christian characters present made the situation.
During this scene mercy was also mentioned many times and I began to question how accurately it was being used. When Antonio said that Shylock must give up his religion and give him half of his wealth, I immediately felt hatred towards Antonio. Portia even started saying how Antonio was showing mercy which to me was wrong and unfair. I was appalled at how she could get away with that. It is so unfair how the system was back then and how unfairly the Jewish were treated.