Christianity and Mercy Essay

Submitted By nikesonmyfeetPM
Words: 1012
Pages: 5

Christianne Nunez
English 61


The speech heard around the world of literature, the one speech that left its mark on us, and left us wondering about the true meaning of mercy. In the Merchant of Venice a play by William Shakespeare; we learn all about anti-Semitism even before it came to have the word it is today. This play showed me that Jews were always scrutinized even way before Adolf Hitler. Shylock who was a Jew was forever being betrayed and played for a fool and made to look like an angry fool by everyone in the play, but it was Portia’s great speech the send me as the reader over the edge. “The quality of mercy is not strained.It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.It is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. It is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes the enthroned monarch better than his crown. His scepter shows the force of temporal power, an attribute to awe and majesty. Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings. ”But mercy is above this sceptered sway, it is enthroned in the hearts of kings, it is an attribute to God himself; and an earthly power doth then become likest God's where mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That in the course of justice we all must see salvation, We all do pray for mercy And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy. I have spoken thus much to mitigate the justice of thy plea, which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.” (MV 4.1.182-203) It is my opinion that Portia was being a hypocrate when talking about mercy, because not one person in the play had mercy for Shylock, but yet have the nerves to ask for from Shylock who from the beginning was robbed of everything he had and still left with nothing, not even his religion which was sacred to him. It is said that when Portia was speaking about mercy and justice that she was only seeing the Christian side of things. Meaning she was only coming from the point of view of a Christian. All she talks about is how beneficial it would be for Shylock to forgive and forget and yet she is failing to see the fault in what her Christian fellows and why it is important for him to seek revenge. At the end of the day I think that Portia was coming from a more “logical” mind set than an emotional point of view, she failed to see the pain and suffering of Shylock. Her speech is clearly directed towards a Christian god in the end her speech to me was more of an ultimatum to Shylock as she said that his pursuit of justice would lead him to damnation. She was still going to destroy his legal arguments and take the side of the Christians. In the article by BBC I read how Portia’s speech was more Christian oriented because it basically talked about turning the other check and letting things be something very difficult for Shylock to do “We see here two differing ideas about the relationship between mercy and justice. In Elizabethan times Portia would have been seen as representing the Christian idea of mercy. The New Testament advocates that Christians should "turn the other cheek" rather than exact revenge from the the person who has wronged them. Shylock's view of justice is the complete opposite: it is "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" - which interestingly is an idea of justice which can be derived from the Old Testament. This all to me sounded very hypocritical of a Christian to tell a Jewish or anyone of other