The merchant of Venice was very thought-provoking. It used some interesting contrasting ideas that made you need to think a lot more. An example of this would be between the two sides of justice vs. mercy or Judaism in favor of law overall and Christianity in favor of mercy. As all people sin, you must show mercy to others so they will in retune for you. Or in Judaism, where the rules are mode, and you follow them, understanding the punishment if you break them. This is similar to the story of the bully and victim at school that we read. In the merchant of Venice, Shylock is the victim, and Antonio is the bully for spitting in the face of Shylock. Shylock then seeks his friendship and then his revenge, just as the victim in the bully story did. Both are punished for their actions, Shylock by half his wealth and his religion, and the victim by the extent of our laws today. But Shylock is given mercy and not put to death, and the victim would most likely be given more leeway in court as the bully provoked him. Both, in the end, have been shown mercy but suffer the conquests of their actions. It was interesting to see the difference in response to the two situations by the class. Many people, in their responses, gave the victim of bullying little too on mercy, and many felt bad for Shylock and his punishment. I think this might have been the punishment Shylock got was to convert his religion, and in so, his beliefs in today’s world would be considered unjust or plain wrong to force someone to change their fundamental beliefs against their will. So with this punishment of being a Christian, Shylock lost all he defined himself by. He could no longer practice his religion; he could no longer lend money; he could no longer know his old self.