• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Just is the outcome of the Trial Scene in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", and how does Shakespeare manipulate our feelings for those involved?

Extracts from this document...


How Just is the outcome of the Trial Scene, and how does Shakespeare manipulate our feelings for those involved? As the play is reaching its thrilling climax, we are transported to the court of justice, where Shylock is finally to receive his destiny. Having witnessed such violent and abusive loathing between the Christian Antonio (the merchant who gives the play its title) and the Jewish Shylock, the outcome of the trial determines the outcome of the entire play, and the final result of justice for the characters. Shylock's plans all fall to pieces at the last minute as he refuses to take any money and insists on cutting the pound of flesh; however Portia, acting as a judge, turns the case around by discovering that no blood must be drawn. Antonio now is in control of the situation, and forces Shylock to renounce his religion and become a Christian. But in this scene, is this the "just" result? It depends which character's side you take; Shylock wanted justice to be served with a pound of flesh, whilst Antonio wanted Shylock to be punished for his violent and unreasonable demand. The play follows many of the traits of a Shakespearian comedy. At the time, Jews were considered second class citizens, who had little freedom in a Christian society. In comedies, traditionally the Jewish character, Shylock in this case, is the evil villain who the audience has little sympathy for and want to see fail and receive his punishment. ...read more.


"Thou torturest me, it was my turquoise. I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys." Not only has Shylock lost his daughter and his money, he now finds out that one of his last treasured presents from his late wife has been sold off. Surely now, the audience must feel sympathy towards him, facing such torment from all around him when inside he is faced with massive issues. We also remember he is nothing more than a frail old man - we can't help but feel tremendously sorry for him in this situation. Shakespeare does, however, maintain essences of the stereotype still: annoying little repetitive segments: "What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?" "I thank God I thank God. Is it true is it true?" Although this is very irritating, it hardly justifies the abuse and hate he receives from the other characters, and certainly not his daughter's actions. Finally, in Act 4, Scene 1, we reach the trial scene where everything that has built up to this climactic event will at last be settled. Shylock comes in with every intention of getting revenge on Antonio by cutting a pound of his flesh from his breast, which would almost certainly kill him. Such anger and brutal rage from Shylock surely must be from more than just the unpaid debt - all the factors combining together all the way throughout the play have brought upon Shylock this need to hurt Antonio. ...read more.


Embarrassed, worn out, and confused about what just happened, a weary Shylock leaves the court and leaves Venice; nothing more than a frail old man again. So was this result "just"? It would certainly not have been just for it to go Shylocks way - the violent taking of Antonio's life would go against both of their religious beliefs, and certainly isn't morally acceptable. However, Shylock did deserve something out of this, be it some compensation at the end. Having seen him victimised so much throughout the play, there was still some sympathy for him there, even if he didn't help things by behaving so savagely in court. From Antonio's point of view, things went perfectly, but I believe he was definitely not in the right - his unnecessary cruel taunting of Shylock was just plain nasty, and his absolute insistence that he never looked upon him as an equal certainly got him very close to receiving a cruel punishment from Shylock. To conclude, I believe this was not a just result - Shylock was in the wrong for much of it, so in the sense of Antonio being spared, that went well. But, for Antonio to add insult to injury by forcing Shylock to go home bankrupt and a Christian was unnecessary and cruel. Shylock was a victim, but only by a margin. He shouldn't take demands too far, and Antonio should treat him with more respect. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joseph Henshaw English Coursework 11D Merchant of Venice Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. How does Shakespeare create tension in the trial scene of The Merchant of Venice?

    he is simply accepting that he will die from the start of the court scene. Shylock is a solitary figure as he is entering a trial where he is surrounded by Christians that despise him. They use his religion to isolate him; the duke calls for Shylock to enter the court: 'Go one, and call the Jew into the court.'

  2. Discuss the Ways in Which the Themes of Love and Hate are Explored and ...

    Jews arose from the Jewish money lenders providing loans so Christians who, when not being able to return the money, resented them. Jews were a useful scapegoat for disasters to be blamed on and this opinion spread and turned to conflict between the two religions.

  1. Examine how Shylock is presented in The Merchant of Venice.

    Antonio doesn't apologise for these remarks. Instead he says that he is likely to do it again. It is Antonio, not Shylock that first suggests a bond. When we realise that it was Antonio who suggested the bond we can realise Shylock's reasons for wanting to fulfil his bond, it's his legal chance to get revenge.

  2. Discuss the view that 'The Merchant of Venice' is a comedy with tragic possibilities.

    Also Launcelot has left Shylock to be the servant of Bassanio instead and Shylock is left with no one as his wife is deceased. You could call the Christians the evil ones as they are prejudice against Shylock and steal all things of value from him.

  1. How just is the outcome of the trial scene for Shylock in the Merchant ...

    This frustrates Shylock's greed as he lends out money with a high rate of interest. As well as that, he has been spat on and called a dog by Antonio, hence angering him, almost obsessively for revenge and for his bond.

  2. Act 4 Scene 1 is the dramatic climax to the play. Analyse how Shakespeare ...

    a bit injustice but on the other hand he had shown no mercy towards Antonio. So all the time throughout this scene we are faced with two strongly justified arguments which give the audience mix emotions. The Duke pardoned Shylock before he begged for mercy but Shylock argued that since

  1. Explore the ways Shakespeare presents Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

    The burden of his race gives Shylock both a sense of righteous indignation and an overwhelming sense of superiority. Shylock is thrilled to hear that another of Antonio's ships is lost, making Antonio more vulnerable. "I thank God, I thank God.

  2. 'How does Shakespeare present Shylock to the audience as both a stereotype and a ...

    He doesn't want her to mix with the Christians. It also shows that he wants her to have no fun in her leisure time. Therefore the audience as this point would feel that Shylock didn't want his daughter to have any fun.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work