The Merchant Of Venice : Laws Vs. Character Essay

1225 Words Dec 18th, 2014 5 Pages
The Merchant of Venice: Laws vs. Character
In Shakespeare 's play, The Merchant of Venice, the law held great power and had much influence over the people of Venice, especially over the leading characters of the play. Without doubt, the law was an important element of how Venice operated: justice, money, businesses and even the lives of people, were all under the control of laws. Hence, the law played a central part in The Merchant of Venice because it had a great impact on various characters in the play.

One character that was greatly affected by the law was Antonio, the play 's protagonist. Antonio had locked himself in a legal deal with Shylock, the antagonist, in order to fund Bassanio. Then, they had the bond sealed at a notary, and as the forfeiture for this bond Shylock told Antonio he would, "Be nominated for an equal pound/ Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken/ In what part of your body pleaseth me." (1.3.139-47). As a result of being sworn unto this bond, Antonio could no longer escape this contract and had agreed that he would give up a pound of flesh as the legal forfeit. Furthermore, when Antonio did not meet the agreed deadline, he was brought to court as part of breaking the agreement. During the trial Antonio stated that, "The duke cannot deny the course of law;/ For the commodity that strangers have/ With us in Venice, if it be denied,/ Will impeach the justice of the state,/ Since that the trade and profit of the city/ Consisteth of all nations."…

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